Sonny Brownlow’s mother said she wants justice for her son’s “cold-blooded murder” — before “street justice” takes over in Killeen.
“My son wasn’t violent, he didn’t even know the man who killed him,” said Rachel Dees Thursday, three days after her 16-year-old son was gunned down at a convenience store in central Killeen. Police have announced no arrests in the case and declined to say if there are any suspects: however, the mother says she knows who the gunman is and has given his name to police.
Brownlow was fatally shot just after 10 a.m. Monday at the Star Mart convenience store in the 3600 block of Zephyr Road in central Killeen. The driver of the car Brownlow was in sped off to a nearby home on Becker Street, where police and emergency responders found three of the occupants of the car with gunshot wounds. The car had at least 10 bullet holes in it.
Brownlow was taken by helicopter to Darnell Medical Center at Fort Cavazos and the others were taken to area hospitals for treatment. Brownlow died at the hospital. Police have not provided updated conditions on the two people who were injured in the shooting.
Dees said she has seen videos of the shooting — videos that the Killeen Police Department are refusing to say exist.
After viewing two videos of the incident, Dees said she is still in shock, but more than that, she wants to know why the man in the videos that she says shot at the car, is still on the loose.
“It was all over a girl,” Dees said of Monday’s shooting. “And it wasn’t even my son that the shooter was targeting.”
According to Dees, the shooter was angry at another person in the car. She said the shots were aimed at someone else in the car, but not her son.
“And, the police have the video,” Dees said.
Interim KPD Chief Charles Kimble on Thursday would neither confirm nor deny if a video of the shooting existed and if police have reviewed the footage.
“I’m not going to talk about evidence in this case,” Kimble said.
Dees also gave the Herald the name of the person who she said shot her son. When the Herald gave that name to KPD spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez, she refused to confirm the name or to say he was indeed a suspect.
“The police department does not discuss active investigations, unless, the release of the suspect’s name is necessary for the public’s safety or apprehension of the suspect,” Miramontez said in an email.
When the Herald replied to KPD that the shooter in this case apparently killed one person and injured two others in a public place in broad daylight, the interim chief called the Herald a few minutes later.
In the conversation, Kimble refused to say if KPD had a suspect or has watched any video of the shooting.
“I’m not releasing that information,” Kimble said in the phone call.
According to Dees, Sonny and his friends went into the store without speaking to the suspected shooter or his girlfriend, who accompanied him. It wasn’t until after Sonny and his friends left the store and got into the car that the shooting started, according to Dees.
“They were driving off,” Dees said.
Social media posts have been numerous, and Dees said her other sons have heard lots of things “on the street.”
“(He’s) telling people they shot at him first,” Dees said. “But, the windows of the car never came down.”
From photographs and witnesses at the scene on Becker Drive, the car had multiple bullet holes on the passenger’s side of the vehicle.
After the shooting Monday, the front glass door of the store was shattered as police investigated the scene in the hours afterwards. By Thursday, the glass in the door had been replaced.
Dees told the Herald that she has spoken to detectives with KPD and was told that they wanted permission to do the searches and gather additional information before submitting the case to the district attorney.
“They said it could take up to six months,” Dees said. “I want to know why no one has been arrested.”
Dees said the detective on the case told her he wanted to make sure to “dot all his I’s and cross all his “T’s.”
While KPD is not publicly saying if there is any video evidence in this case, Killeen police have released videos related to shootings in other cases.
On Dec. 13, Killeen police released video of suspected robbers at the Angel Food Mart on Gilmer Street. The night before, during the robbery, one of the men shown in the video had shot at a clerk in the store, police said.
In January 2021, Killeen police released police body-camera footage of a fatal officer-involved shooting in the front yard of a Killeen home.
Investigators were still early in the investigation process when Kimble held a news conference to release the detailed video of the shooting, which claimed the life of a Killeen resident.
When asked why he won’t say if there is a suspect Monday’s shooting or confirm other things the mother is saying about the shooter and the shooting, Kimble said KPD and the detectives in the case have to be very careful with what they release during the investigation.
“We’re the ones who are going to testify — not her,” Kimble said. However, when pressed how he knew Dees would not testify in court, Kimble said he was not sure.
“I am not talking about evidence in this case,” he added, a phrase he used multiple times in the phone call.
April 8 shooting
Social media posts have questioned whether a Killeen fatal shooting which occurred April 8 on Atlas Avenue, killing Va’Quintin Maestre, is somehow related to Monday’s shooting, since the two victims knew each other well and the shootings were about a month apart.
“The boys were brothers-in-law,” Dees said. “Va’Quintin and my daughter were together for a long time.”
Dees has said that although the two deaths were unbearably hard, she doesn’t believe they were at all related.
Police have arrested two people in the April 8 shooting case.
Dees has set up a GoFundMe fage to help with funeral expenses for Brownlow at bit.ly/44VDnCH.
By late Thursday, it had raised about $750. The goal is $15,000.
I thought there was school on Monday 🤷🏾♀️
This whole crew was far from innocent. Threating lives, shootings and robberies. All will come out in due time.
My point is even I'd he has picture with guns guess what most kids try to look cool. Even I found pictures of my daughter with a bb gun that we own but it looks like an assault rifle. There was no incident that should have resulted with gun fire. I'm 100% sure that while you looked at his pictures gun weren't the only thing you seen, there are pictures of him smiling with other kids and pictures with his family. Kids and young adults are molded into the adults they become but a kid that fired took a life from a kid who said nothing to him and was leaving. One kid gets to see his family after killing another while Sonny couldnt even say goodbye to anyone. By all rights the kid that lost his life is innocent he was leaving he didn't deserve to die the mother has every right to feel the way she does.
Truth told me to reveal to the world: In KILL'em, STREET INJUSTICE, along with THUGISM, have been running rampant for the past 30 odd years!!!!
KILL'em can be hazardous to your health.
If you wish to continue breathing, get out while the getting is still possible.
Obviously the shooter had a mentor that showed him how to fire from cover and aim. That's what's sad instead of any number of ways that handling any dispute could have gone SONNY WHO WAS LEAVING(doing the right thing) LOST HIS LIFE. How can anyone see anything but that.
Obviously the public seems to think that they can paint a picture making a kid out to be violent because they "looked at their Facebook pages pictures". That is funny you say that because you know absolutely nothing about him nor his family. He didn't have videos of him shooting at people he IS A KID NONETHELESS. Kids will make mistakes. They will learn and know the consequences of said mistakes. But this family too many times has been shot at by driveby shooting. What did the police say, no suspects at this time until a year or so goes by. His family had young children under 10 in the house. So if he felt safer or like he may have been able to protect his younger siblings then who is anyone to judge. What it boils down to they were shot at while leaving the store nothing was said inside from one party to the next. They were all young it's still a cold blooded killing to say oh he isn't innocent look at his Facebook is a lack of intelligence and anyone making light of this situation ought to be ashamed Sonny was a good kid who despite the many many challenges he faced in his life could have been something he had intelligence beyond his years. He loved his family and his close friends it's so easy to speculate with out knowing anything about him. I just wonder if KPD is going to leave this family with no answers like they have in the past.
Yes, a sixteen year-old, not legally allowed to possess weapons of any kind - posting pics with weapons in a public parking lot...totally "peaceful" character and intent.
I am NOT making light of the situation. The fact that folks are not taking it seriously or addressing the obvious is taking it lightly by minimizing the absolute obvious.
Stop making excuses for behavior that is plain as day. A teenager armed with pistols is highly unlikely to be going door to door engaging in charity / the Lord's work.
Oh the irony of a man who goes everywhere armed (including city council meetings) questioning the motives of another armed individual.
I believe the word you're looking for is hypocrite or maybe just say you're sorry for being an #$$.
The woman lost her child. How about showing some grace?
That day had no snacks either.
Just like the families that are not at peace or safe as long as that 3wrld crew out here.
Guess question at hand is they ever find them snacks??? Did they fall out along with the gun while driving away with the passenger back door open. 🤔
“My son wasn’t violent, he didn’t even know the man who killed him,” - yet the mother knows who killed him. Any of this making sense to anyone?
NOT violent? Okay...KDH...publish the pics I sent to you from HIS facebook with him and two pistols in a parking lot. I'm sure a TEENAGER had legitimate reason to have TWO pistols in a public parking area.
...and City Council is upset about THEIR security at meetings. Mayor Pro Tem tries to attack ME...and HIS safety is of concern. I chose NOT to be violent, and people still trying to make me out to be the villain.
Compare the crime blotter with Ken Wilkerson's assessment of "crime" and tell me that anyone in this city has a clue what is really going on.
Stop it. I am sick and tired of the innocent little baby routine. I've seen - and sent the facebook pics to KDH of him possessing, handling pistols in public. I am sorry for her loss, but it is quite clear the kid was living a certain lifestyle that brings consequences.
When will we stop doing the kabuki dance about crime in this town? The "Oh...you shouldn't talk about / bring that up" nonsense just perpetuates the problem. WE HAVE A VIOLENT YOUTH AND GANG PROBLEM. Stop pretending like we don't. Stop minimizing the actions of people and creating excuses to do everything but stopping it.
Mentoring, outreach, and any other nonsense effort is NOT working. KISD PD doesn't hold students accountable - to keep their reports and FUNDING intact, and we as a city are afraid to enforce laws or take responsibility for the children / youth.
Stop kidding yourselves.
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