Man who shot wife, killed himself had money woes, friend says

Neil Brown's career in distress, home in foreclosure, friend says

May 03, 2011|By Nick Madigan, The Baltimore Sun

A 45-year-old man who police say shot and injured his wife Sunday and then turned the weapon on himself, with fatal results, had been having financial problems, according to a close friend.

"This stress caused problems in their marriage," said Kim Labat, who described Neil Ivan Brown as one of her best friends, a "very intelligent" man who had run into a series of misfortunes. Brown, a real-estate agent with no business in recent years, had resorted to driving a truck for a living and the couple's home near Randallstown was in foreclosure, Labat said.

Brown's wife, Melissa, 33, was shot in the house on Dressage Court during a domestic dispute, Baltimore County police said. She was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center for treatment of multiple bullet wounds after officers forced their way into the house and helped her outside.

Brown remained inside, apparently barricaded, and a tactical unit later found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Labat, a technical-support specialist, said she and Brown were childhood friends. "He never really had a nuclear family in his upbringing and spent most of his time at my house, where my mom prepared home-cooked meals and he could relax."

Brown graduated from Walbrook High School in 1984 and attended Coppin State College as an engineering and mathematics major on full scholarship, but had "several family challenges and didn't finish the program," Labat said.

He and his wife — a graduate of Western high School who has bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from Morgan State University — met at a party in the early 1990s and had two children, a son who is 21 and a 14-year-old daughter.

"It's so hard to believe that someone so caring and level-headed would succumb to such violence," Labat said, referring to Brown. "This was totally out of his character."

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