The Tragic Life Experiences of Dallas Police Chief David Brown

The deaths of five officers in Dallas prompted interest in the often tragic life circumstances of Chief David Brown.

  • Published 13 July 2016


Dallas Police Chief David Brown lost a son, brother, and work partner to gun violence.

  dallas chief david brown son brother partner Is this true? It was posted on FB His son died after being shot 12 times by police officers and his brother was murdered by drug dealers. Rather than burn down the block he has risen to run one of the largest police departments in the nation in his efforts to stop police brutality. He is Chief David Brown, head of the Dallas Police Department. This week he saw five of his officers murdered by a sniper during a peaceful rally in Dallas. He is one of many ‪#‎HeroesInBlue‬ actively working to make our communities a better, safer place. Thank you for your service, Chief Brown. Keep up the great work.


On 12 July 2016, the Facebook page “Heroes In Blue” published the status update depicted above, describing the life of Dallas Police Department Chief David Brown, who lost his son, his brother, and his police partner in separate incidents of crime and gun violence: 

chief brown dallas

Almost exactly six years before the Dallas police shootings, local news outlets reported the death of Brown’s 27-year-old son, after he shot and killed a police officer in 2010:

The son of Dallas Police Chief David Brown killed a Lancaster police officer and another man during a Sunday melee that left three people dead, according to a law enforcement official.

David Brown Jr., 27, was himself shot and killed by officers, according to the official.

The elder Brown had been serving as Chief for less than two months at the time of the incident (which took place on Father’s Day). Shortly before Brown’s son and the police officer were killed, the normally circumspect Chief spoke to The Dallas Morning News about the unrelated 1988 and 1991 deaths of former partner Walter L. Williams and Brown’s brother Kelvin:

More Dallas cops were shot to death in 1988 than in any other year in department history. For Brown, one case was particularly devastating.

It was Aug. 2. Brown was only weeks into his assignment in the physical evidence section when he responded to an officer-involved shooting in west Oak Cliff. The cop was reportedly in grave condition.

At the crime scene, on the ground, Brown soon spotted a familiar pair of eyeglasses. They were like the ones worn by his police academy classmate and former partner, Walter L. Williams … Williams, a 47-year-old father of three, died at a hospital hours after the shooting. Brown left the crime scene and was with his friend’s children when they got the news.

“When things like that happen and you’re really close, you don’t believe it for the longest time,” Brown said. “I really relate to all of those in-the-line-of-duty deaths [on a] much more personal level … you lose a partner, you just never get over it.”

Three years after Williams’ death, violence came even closer. His younger brother, Kelvin Brown, was killed in 1991 in the Phoenix area by drug dealers.

He resists speaking about his brother’s death, in part because of his concerns that it might hurt the rest of his family.

“I can’t deny that’s a part of who I am,” Brown said. “The families of victims, I know what they go through. My family had to go through that. But does it make me police in a different manner or lead in a different manner? I’m not sure.

“I really enjoyed catching bad guys before that happened,” Brown said. “And I still really enjoy it.”

Brown was also criticized by fellow officers over a last-minute police escort his son’s funeral.

All three claims about Dallas’s police chief were true. In 1988, Brown’s former partner Walter Williams was shot to death. In 1991, his brother Kelvin was killed by drug dealers in Phoenix. And in 2010, his son David Brown killed an officer and was shot and killed at the scene, just seven weeks after the elder Brown became the Dallas Chief of Police.