Suspect’s family reaches out to victims’ families

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Words of condolence from the family of a man accused of shooting and killing two people, one of them a Norfolk police officer.

Investigators say James Andrew Brown shot and killed 17-year-old Mark Rodriguez and Officer Brian Jones two weeks ago. Another officer shot and killed Brown.

Wednesday, Brown’s family released a letter expressing grief over the tragedy. The letter reminds everyone that James Brown had relatives who were police officers, too.

Special Coverage: Norfolk Officer Killed

“The police officers in this family are mourning the loss of a brother in blue, who had so much life left and so much more to do for his family and community,” part of the letter reads.

The widow of Officer Brian Jones received the letter, but did not want to comment.

The letter also mentions Mark Rodriguez, and refers to the pain the Brown family, themselves, are feeling: “We, as a family, wonder why such a horrible thing happened. Like you, we are trying to make sense of it all.”

Mark’s father, Carlos Rodriguez, has read the letter.

“That night our son was killed we decided to forgive James Brown, and by God’s grace we have done so. We bear no malice towards the Brown family. We appreciate their sentiments, and hope they can find peace and rest in God’s grace,” he said.

“We are returning the favor. My neighbors and I take care of the memorial,” said Bobbie Howe, who Fox found at the flowers, balloons, and cross on Wellington Road, where Brown lived and Jones died.

“Brian was there when my husband and I got attacked,” remembered Howe.

Howe and her husband were attacked by Jesse Bishop, who was living in the couple’s home last October. Bishop is now serving a 50-year sentence for the attack. Howe said Officer Jones kept an eye on her and her husband.

“He was helping periodically. He would come to see how I am doing, to see how my hand is doing,” Howe said. That is one of the reasons she makes it a point to make sure the memorial site is kept just right.

Down the street from Brown’s home, you can see four shots in the wall. It is clear from he chunks taken out of the wall that Brown had tremendous fire power.

“Jimmy used to wear a sidearm, and we used to call him Wyatt Earp,” Howe told Fox.

Bobbie Howe said she knew Jimmy Brown because he would hang out at her house.

“They were friends. They knew each other from the neighborhood,” said Howe. she claimed Jimmy Brown was friends with Jesse Bishop.

When Howe heard what Brown had done, she simply could not believe it.

Full letter from Brown’s family:

Words cannot express the magnitude of sorrow and grief we have for the families of the courageous police officer and the rising senior who were taken on Friday, May 30. Our grief for you is deep and personal. The police officers in this family are mourning the loss of a brother in blue, who had so much life left and so much more to do for his family and community.

The parents in this family are grieving for the Rodriguez family and the loss of an amazing son and brother, who lived so passionately for the Lord.

To Officer Curtis Allison, your actions went above and beyond. You showed the greatest love anyone can give by risking your life for Officer Brian Jones. We pray for your quick recovery.

To the police officer who ended the madness, you were courageous and honorable. Your act of valor most likely saved other lives that night.

We, as a family, wonder why such a horrible thing happened. Like you, we are trying to make sense of it all. Life is such a precious gift and that is why it is with sadness that we reach out with heavy hearts.

We pray for peace, wisdom, and the love of God to prevail in the lives of all your families and friends during this time of pain and confusion.

– The Family of James Andrew Brown

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