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Dallas Police Chief Speaks About Son's Shootout

By BJ Austin, KERA News

Dallas, TX – Dallas Police Chief David Brown is back at work. He returned Wednesday, after the Father's Day shooting that left his son, a police officer and a 23 year old man dead. KERA's BJ Austin says the Chief made his first public comments about the shooting at a meeting of the North Texas Crime Commission.

City Manager Mary Suhm introduced Chief David Brown to the North Texas Crime Commission audience.

Suhm: I have complete faith in his ability to deal with this, and get through this, and lead our police department and public safety. I am happy to present to you Chief David Brown.

Chief Brown was about six weeks into the job as Chief when his son, David Brown, Jr. shot and killed a total stranger at the River Bend Apartments in Lancaster on Father's Day: then killed Officer Craig Shaw, answering the 9-1-1 call. Brown was then shot dead by other officers arriving on the scene.

Brown: We're still trying to piece together and understand the "why" this happened. And we may never get to a full understanding of why.

Brown says the tragedy in Lancaster has left three families, two police forces and two cities in a horrific state of shock.

The Chief also plans to meet with officers who are outraged that a motorcycle escort was ordered for part of his son's funeral procession. Some officers feel that is an honor reserved for dignitaries and fallen law enforcement, not an officer's killer.

Brown: I want them to express that anger and frustration. That's not a bad thing at this point. But prolonged anger and prolonged frustration is not a good thing for an individual or an organization.

City Manager Suhm did not agree with the motorcycle escort decision and ordered an independent investigation. Two police commanders say the escort was ordered in the interest of traffic control and public safety.

In another controversy, at least one on-duty officer apparently assisted the Brown family for more than 20 hours during the week of the funeral. Sgt. Tanga Hampton's supervisor says she was on "special assignment". Suhm says Chief Brown did not know the officer was on department time.

Suhm: Her time sheet will be changed to either reflect W-time or if she wants to take vacation time because it's not appropriate.

W-time is unpaid time.

Chief Brown denies there is a split in the department over the escort issue. He says any "family" has disagreements. And he this adversity will make the department stronger in the long run.

Email BJ Austin