Los Angeles Police Officer III Brian E. Brown was honored by more than 3,000 Southern California law enforcement officers who attended his memorial service on Friday, Dec. 4, at Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills.
Brown was the victim of a gang shooting on Sunday, Nov. 29, as he and his partner, Francisco Dominguez, chased two gunmen. The gunmen who had just committed a fatal drive-by shooting in Culver City peppered the squad car with assault-weapon fire. Brown, who didn’t have time to get out of his car or draw his weapon, was struck in the head.
Brown died at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center shortly after the incident.
“The officers were outmatched by the gunmen who were firing a Ruger mini-14 assault rifle and a semiautomatic attack weapon,” Capt. Gary Williams told the press. They were armed with only 9mm and .45-caliber handguns to defend themselves.
One of the gunmen, Oscar Zatarain, 23, of Rancho Cucamonga, was shot and killed at a nearby shopping mall by Dominguez and two other officers.
Chief Bernard Parks stated, “This officer, along with his partner, basically came upon a homicide scene, pursued some suspects that they thought were involved in that scene.”
The second gunman commandeered a taxi at a nearby convenience store. After shoving the cabby out of the car, the gunman led police on a five-mile chase to the Los Angeles International Airport, where he rammed several parked cars at Terminal One outside the Southwest Airlines area.
He then bolted from the wrecked cab and ran about 200 yards before he was struck by at least four bullets fired by police. The man, whose name was not released, was stable after surgery at UCLA Medical Center, Chief Parks reported.
Brown, who had been with the department for three years, is the third L.A.P.D. officer to die during 1998. Mayor Richard Riordan said in a statement, “Officer Brown was killed in cold bold by a criminal with no regard for others.”
During the service, Brown’s son, 7-year-old Dylan, told the audience in a tearful tribute to his father, “I just didn’t want him to die.” “He was the best. He was one of the most lovable dads and he was a great police officer and I really loved him and I’m going to miss him,” Dylan continued. “He really loved me and I really loved him too. I just loved him so much. I just didn’t want him to die,” he said.
Chief Bernard Parks said, “Dylan is an exact replica of his father. It is clear that his father took time with him. It is clear that Dylan has modeled himself after his father.” Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, shook Dylan’s hand and praised his father’s bravery and told him, “Dylan, all of Los Angeles is proud of your dad.”
Other speakers remembered Brown, 27, as a brave Marine and vigilant cop. He had survived sniper firm in Somalia only to be shot to death by a gang member on the streets of Los Angeles.
Memories of an officer who loved his job were shared by his colleagues from the Marine Corps and Los Angeles Police Dept.
Mike Ventura, a Marine, told the audience of Brown’s courage in Somalia in 1993, and described how he maneuvered his team under fire. Ventura said that in the course of the skirmish, Brown and another soldier were wounded. Brown made sure the other soldier was rescued. He was awarded the Purple Heart for multiple shrapnel wounds to both legs suffered in the incident.
Officer Keith Krallman remembered the first time he saw Brown at the Police Academy. He was struck by his appearance: a suit and shiny military issue dress shoes. Krallman accurately figured that he had just left military service. Brown was honorably discharged in September 1995, and entered the academy that same month, where he was selected as a squad leader.
His final rating from the Academy reflected that he projected self-confidence, authority, and enthusiasm. He excelled in self-defense, tactical training, and weaponry. At the same time, he was rated outstanding in his grasp and application of human relations skills. Krallman continued, “Brown was the kind of classmate who kept encouraging everyone in the squad. Egging them on to study harder and run faster.” “The words ‘I can’t’ didn’t exist in his vocabulary.”
Officer Vito Ceccia told the gathering, “Brown wanted his squad to be the best. He was always coming up and adjusting my tie or tie clip. He was a perfectionist.”
“Brown’s death was a humbling reminder of the fragility of life and the all-too-real dangers of police work,” Krallman said.
Brown was born in Killeen, Texas on Sept. 3, 1971. He graduated from Vashon High School in Vashon, Washington. He entered the United States Marine Corps in September 1989.
Brown did his probation in Los Angeles’ Central Area where ratings state he excelled in learning the police craft. A letter from an appreciative citizen thanked Brown for his outstanding service. After probation, he moved on to the 77th Street Area.
In recognition of his outstanding abilities, Brown had achieved the rank of training officer with less than four years on the job. He was only in his second month of working Pacific Area when he was killed.
He was buried Monday, Dec. 7, in Houston, Texas.
Brown was a single parent. In addition to his son, is suvived by his father, Dennis; step-mother, April; his mother, Emily; and step-father, Dick.
A trust fund has been established for Brown’s son. Donations should be sent to the Brian Brown Blue Ribbon Trust Account, LAPD’s Pacific Area Station, 12312 Culver Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066. Please note that donations to the Blue Ribbon Trust are not tax deductible. A tax deductible donation may be made in the name of Officer Brown to the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation, 150 North Los Angeles Street, #731, Los Angeles, CA 90012. These donations stay with the Foundation.