NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A violent series of events across Norfolk the night of May 30 ended with a Norfolk Police Officer, a teenager and the suspect dead.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office reviewed the evidence to determine if Norfolk Police Officer Toofan Shahsiah’s deadly use of force was justified when he killed suspect James Andrew Brown.
Friday, Commonwealth’s Attorney Greg Underwood released the findings, which concluded that the officer’s intentional use of deadly force was lawful use of self-defense. Underwood, in his report to Police Chief Michael Goldsmith, also stated that James Brown was solely responsible for the deaths of 17-year-old Mark Rodriguez and Norfolk Police Officer Brian Jones and the wounding of Officer Curtis Allison.
Later in the day, Rodriguez’s father, Carlos, released this statement to WAVY.com:
We have received and read the report. We hope it can provide some sense of closure to all those who have been affected by this tragedy. Because of our faith in Christ, we believe that God still has great plans for Mark and our family. The story is not yet over. Regarding our son, we cannot say enough about how proud we are of him. His life and legacy continues to impact thousands of people. He loved God and he loved people fearlessly, and his life and message cannot be silenced.
The CA’s office released a detailed timeline of that night.
The report reveals that James Brown purchased a .40 caliber Glock, and an AR-15 style assault rifle in May 2013. He also owned an AK-47 style assault rifle. Brown used all three firearms in the May 30 shootings.
A couple weeks leading up to May 30, Brown reportedly began acting “extremely erratic.” His mother stated the week before, he kicked in her bedroom door, threatened her with an ax and threw her cell phone in the backyard when he thought she was talking to a credit card company. His mother later learned he had run up $2,000 in unauthorized charges on her credit card. She ordered him to move out of her home.
The night of May 30, at 10:39 p.m., 911 dispatchers began receiving numerous calls from the 8400 block of Chesapeake Boulevard stating that a driver was shooting randomly from his red Jeep. Surveillance video from the Chesapeake Boulevard business where Brown worked, captured him leaving minutes earlier carrying a black handgun.
17-year-old Mark Rodriguez had just dropped off a friend nearby after attending a high school graduation ceremony. He was hit twice by random gunfire, causing his death.
The red Jeep proceeded onto East Little Creek Road, where the driver continued firing at vehicles. The gunshots hit a black Range Rover with a woman and children inside, shattering the windows, injuring the children with glass. Two other occupied vehicles, including an HRT handicap van, were also struck by gunfire, but no one inside was injured.
Brown then drove to the 7400 block of Wellington Road where his mother lived. Around 10:44 p.m. a 911 caller reported hearing several gunshots and said Brown drove onto his mother’s yard and appeared to be “dancing in the yard with what looked to be an AR-15 assault rifle.” The caller also said he saw Brown’s mother run to her neighbor’s house.
Norfolk Police Officer Curtis Allison lived nearby. He was off-duty but when he heard the gunfire he responded to the home on Wellington Road. Norfolk Police Officer Brian Jones answered the initial “shots fired” call and was ultimately led to the Wellington Road scene moments after Officer Allison.
According to the CA’s report, Officer Jones yelled at Brown to “come here” and submit to the police. Instead, Brown went into the home and immediately started shooting toward Officer Jones through the front window. Brown then came outside and walked toward the officers all the while firing an AK-47 assault rifle. One of the rounds struck Officer Jones in his chest. Even though he was wearing his ballistic vest, the injury was fatal. Officer Jones was transported to the hospital where he was declared dead at 12:20 a.m.
Brown re-directed his gunfire at Officer Allison, hitting him in the hip. Officer Allison returned fire then moved to a position of cover.
Brown got back into the Jeep and drove off. Officer Allison radioed for assistance and broadcast the direction of Brown’s travel. Norfolk Officer Toofan Shahsiah responded to that call and spotted the red Jeep turning from Wellington Road. Brown began firing at Officer Shahsiah. The officer described hearing the bullets and seeing residents outside drop to the ground for cover.
Brown lost control at the intersection of Galveston Boulevard and East Little Creek Road, hit several vehicles, then his Jeep came to a stop. Officer Shahsiah and Brown both got of their vehicles holding their guns. The officer ordered Brown to “stop” and “get down.” At one point, Brown indicated he was giving up. When Officer Shahsiah got an arm’s length away, Brown lunged at him. Officer Shahsiah struck him in the head with his service weapon and Brown fell to the ground. When the officer tried to handcuff Brown, he jumped up and put his hands around the officer’s head and neck. During the struggle, Brown tried to grab Officer Shahsiah’s weapon. The officer momentarily pushed Brown away, drew his service weapon and fired eight rounds at Brown, killing him.
Witnesses described the same series of events.
Forensic evidence suggests Brown fired the AK-47 assault rifle at least 31 times, his AR-15 assault rifle at least 17 and his Glock at lest four times at or near the three different crime scenes that night.
A toxicology of Brown’s blood indicated he did not have drugs or alcohol in his system.