July 8, 2008
KNOB NOSTER — Police Chief Brian Kniskern said Tuesday he is unlikely to seek charges in the fatal shooting of a man that occurred during a domestic dispute more than a week ago.
Sonny Brown, 44, was shot once with a .357-caliber Magnum at about 8:30 a.m. June 28. He died at 11:30 a.m. July 2 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, where he had been airlifted, Kniskern said.
“There has been a history of domestic violence in the home,” Kniskern said. “At this time, I don’t see charges. ... There was probably domestic violence going on at the time of the shooting.”
Brown, an Air Force Reserve technician, was shot by his wife, Debra K. Brown, 44, who was the only other person in the home at 708 E. McPherson St. when the shooting occurred, Kniskern said.
“That’s fact, that she shot him,” Kniskern said. “The reason behind it is what we are trying to find out.”
Mrs. Brown, who had been married to Sonny for about five years, was staying at a domestic violence shelter after the shooting, the police chief said.
Kniskern planned to meet with Johnson County Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Stoppy, who could seek charges without Kniskern’s recommendation. Stoppy could present the evidence to a grand jury, which would determine whether to indict Debra Brown in the shooting.
Police had visited the Browns’ home the night before the shooting. At that time, they found a drunken Mr. Brown apparently had cut himself on his back, chest and head, according to a Knob Noster police report.
Mrs. Brown told police he had been drinking Everclear, a brand of grain alcohol available at 151 proof and 190 proof, or 95 percent alcohol.
Police called an ambulance and eventually used a Taser on Mr. Brown three times to subdue him enough to get him into the ambulance, according to the report. Mr. Brown threatened to kill the police officer who had subdued him, the report said.
At the hospital, tests found that Mr. Brown had a blood alcohol content of .326 percent — four times the level of .08 percent at which a driver is legally presumed under the influence in Missouri.
Mrs. Brown told police that she planned to seek treatment for her husband for alcohol abuse.
About 45 minutes after the Knob Noster police left the hospital, Mr. Brown left against medical advice at about 10:45 p.m.
Mr. Brown went home and fell sleep, but at about 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m. June 28 “He woke up and was angry,” Kniskern said.
Mrs. Brown had “marks on her” indicating that she had been pushed before the shooting, Kniskern said.
Police found several weapons, including knives, swords, axes and guns in the home, the chief said.
Mr. Brown had two sons, Nathan, 17, and Nicholas, 15, but neither was at home when the shooting occurred.
Debra, who is from Michigan, and Sonny, who was from Ohio, had met via the Internet, the chief said.
The couple and the two teenage boys lived in a home owned by Mrs. Brown’s parents. Mr. Brown was a member of the 442nd Fighter Wing, an Air Force Reserve Command unit that flies the A-10 Thunderbolt II at Whiteman Air Force Base. He was a veteran of the war in Iraq.
His body was cremated and the remains were returned to Ohio.
“This is horrible,” said Kniskern said. “Everybody is a victim in this — Sonny, Debra, the boys, everybody.”