City, family reach accord over son’s death

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The City of Alexandria will pay Jeffrey and Cheryl Brown $1.1 million to settle all claims against the city and Alexandria Police Officer Carl Stowe for the death of the Browns son. Aaron Brown, 18, was shot by Stowe on February 25, 2006, as Aaron and some friends were leaving the International House of Pancakes on Duke Street without paying their bill.

No amount of money could be adequate to replace our son. We intend to use this settlement to honor his memory in a variety of ways, including the local chapter of Guitars Not Guns which we helped to start. This organization teaches music to deprived youngsters, and we believe it is something our son as a musician would very much have wanted to be part of. The Browns said in a prepared statement.

Stowe, who was working a security detail at the restaurant, attempted to stop the group as they left the restaurant. Stowe fired at the moving vehicle when he said it was headed toward him. One of the bullets struck and killed Aaron, who was a passenger in the car. Alexandria Commonwealths Attorney S. Randolph Sengel, did not prosecute Stowe criminally, stating that he acted within the scope of his duties.

We regret very much what happened to Aaron Brown. We hope this settlement helps the Brown family achieve some measure of healing, said City Manager James Hartmann. Police Chief David Baker has instituted policy changes to make it clear that officers should not fire their weapons at moving vehicles. We believe this will help prevent anything like this from occurring again.

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