AUSTIN (KXAN) — When Lori Brown received a phone call Monday afternoon from her son, Harrison Brown, the person on the other line wasn’t her son, but rather the voice of a frantic young woman who said he had been attacked.
“And she said, ‘Are you Harrison’s mom?’ and you could tell there was something bad going on at the other end,” Lori said. The University of Texas student on the phone didn’t know Harrison, but she happened to come into the gym and turned back toward the door. “She was coming out of the door — he was holding his hand over his chest and there was blood coming out of his chest. He had held the phone out and said, ‘Call my mom.’”
Lori never got a chance to say goodbye.
Harrison had been stabbed in the chest with a hunting knife in an attack that left three other students injured.
Lori says just three minutes earlier, she was having a normal conversation with him about his day. “He was filling me in on what he was doing, he said he had just played basketball, he always called me ‘mama,’” Lori explained. “He was gonna get something to eat at a food truck.”
Harrison’s family members traveled from their home in Graham, Texas to Austin immediately after his death. Lori traveled to Austin with Harrison’s brother, John, who is also a Longhorn.
A grief counselor ultimately put Lori in touch with the UT student who called her, visiting Lori at her hotel room. “She knew I wanted to meet with her… This young lady — she was a freshman also — she came to see me at my hotel room and it meant the world to me. It was so comforting that she was able to do that for me.”
“What I think about constantly is the fact that I know my son — my sweet son Harrison — he would forgive this perpetrator and has already forgiven him,” Lori said. “That’s the kind of person he was and the kind of heart he had. It gives me comfort knowing that.”
“Harrison was so proud to be a Longhorn and so proud to follow his brother’s footsteps, and we’ve so enjoyed being [part] of the Longhorn family,” Lori said.
Harrison’s father has ALS, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. “It’s very progressive,” Lori said.
“The last thing he said to [Harrison’s father] and I when he left after Easter on Sunday was, ‘I’ll be back on May 20, Dad,’” Lori said. “I think he was a little worried that his dad, we were kind of approaching the end of our ALS, and [Harrison] turned around with the biggest smile on his face, and his baseball cap on, and said, ‘I’ll be back dad and I’ll take care of you.’”
She was also deeply saddened that Harrison will miss the chance to be an uncle and godfather to his brother’s 1-year-old son.
Lori said she remembers Harrison first and foremost as an incredible son.
“He loved his family, he was strong in his faith, loved his brother, looked up to his brother, was proud to be a Longhorn,” she said. “He loved music and was undeclared simply because he was torn because he didn’t know what to pursue, but he knew deep down in his heart music was his passion.”
She explained that Harrison taught himself to play piano, was the first chair trumpet player in high school, he played the guitar, and made it through several rounds of tryouts for the show The Voice during high school. Lori said that Harrison was planning to try out for The Voice again in a few weeks.
“He kept telling me, ‘Mom, big things are coming,’” she said.
The memorial for Harrison in his hometown will be held at the Graham High School gym at 1 p.m. on Saturday.