*No one was watching as little Damani Terry tried to cross the street to join the girls who were dancing in the park on the other side. So the 2-year-old proceeded to cross — right into the path of an oncoming van.
The van struck the toddler. And shortly after driver Archie Brown, Jr. jumped out to check on the little boy, who was motionless, he, along with the boys older brother and an uncle, would end up dead.
Brown was driving his van through the northwest side of Milwaukee on his way to the local Home Depot when he hit the little boy. Doing the responsible thing, he jumped out of his car to tend to the child. The accident had apparently been witnessed by the toddler’s 15-year-old brother, who had been celebrating a birthday in a nearby house and ran outside to the child.
Right behind him was the boys’ uncle, Ricky Chiles, who may have been at the same party.
Chiles is said to have grabbed a gun and ran into the street shooting at 40-year-old Brown. But he also struck his teenage nephew in the process.
When all was said and done, Brown died at the scene, alongside Damani; and the teenager, Rasheed Chiles, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
At a news conference on Thursday Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn spoke on the horrible incident.
“This sad example is what we get when we have folks who decide it’s their responsibility to use their guns to redress their grievances.”
Earlier in the week mayor Tom Barrett called Brown’s shooting an “assassination.”
“Someone got angry,” Barrett said. “Someone took a gun and basically assassinated this gentleman.”
But the tragedy didn’t stop there.
On Thursday, Ricky Chiles III took his own life as police and federal marshals closed in on him at a motel in the Chicago suburb of Lyons, where he was staying with his girlfriend.
“I’m glad it’s over, but I think he took a … cheap way or a cowardly way out,” Brown’s father, Archie Brown Sr., told The Associated Press by phone.
“He was afraid of man’s justice, but he decided to go and meet God’s justice,” Brown said.
The 68-year-old minister, who goes by the name Prophet Brown, said he forgives Chiles for his actions, but adds, “…I’m not saying it’s an easy process.”
Since the beginning of 2015 Milwaukee has seen 43 homicides, compared with 14 at the same point last year.
“I feel helpless. I feel numb,” said Barbara Sprewer, who had seen the child crossing the street at the same time the van was approaching. “I saw them alive, and I saw them deceased. I’ve been reliving this since I woke up.”