Friends come together to honor Best Buy shooting victim
BY AMANDA BLAND & JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writers
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
7/17/12 at 7:33 AM
Homicide victim Graydon Wesley "Wes" Brown's neighbors are hoping to start a movement.
Dozens of people who knew Brown and his family met at the home of Lance Woolsey and Elizabeth Jones on Monday to cut ribbons they plan to hang at street corners in the Florence Park neighborhood in midtown Tulsa.
Wes Brown, 58, was one of two people who were fatally shot at the Best Buy store at 5520 E. Skelly Drive on Saturday.
"In the coming days, we hope this tribute will spread throughout the city and come to stand for the citizens calling for an end to the senseless violence which can remove a kind and gentle man like Wesley Brown from his neighborhood," Woolsey said in a press release on behalf of the Florence Park Neighborhood Association.
Scott Dewayne Norman, 34, was also killed. Police said Norman was the intended target in what was described as a gang-related shooting in the parking lot. In the spray of gunfire, an errant bullet struck Brown as he looked at DVDs with his 10-year-old daughter just inside the store's front doors.
"Maybe, in some way, we can make his death mean some of what his life did," Jones said.
The group amassed hundreds of yards of fabric in Wes Brown's favorite color, teal, and worked hours to create bows for Florence Park neighborhood sign posts and area homes. They also made and distributed lapel ribbons, which City Councilor Blake Ewing offered to take to City Hall for the councilors to wear at their meetings Thursday.
Ewing said he's spoken with police and knows they want to "nip it in the bud quickly and get this guy caught."
A public information officer with the department said detectives and officers hit the streets hard Monday to continue searching for the shooter.
Police said Saturday's homicides might be connected to four other homicides in Tulsa - two in 2008 and two in 2011 - that are believed to be tied to gang activity.
Ewing said witnesses will have to start coming forward to put an end to the violence.
"The community has to decide (that) when these things start to happen, we're not going to cover for these guys," he told the group.
Detectives described the shooter as a black man between 25 and 35 years old, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 170 to 180 pounds. He had a scraggly beard and was wearing a white jersey with writing on the back that possibly said, "Let's eat," with the number 4. The shooter might have fled in a small black vehicle.
"The detectives are actively out there trying to make contact with individuals who might have information," Officer Leland Ashley said.
What will break the case is tips, he said, adding that anyone with information has a duty to tell the police.
"Someone knows," Ashley said. "Someone knows, and we need their conscience to beat them up."
Wes Brown's family and friends pleaded Monday for anyone with information to come forward so that dangerous people are taken off the streets.
"I'm sad and heartbroken, but if his death would help to do anything to get rid of the violence in Tulsa, it would have been not in vain," said his mother, Marquetta Brown. "It seems to me a senseless thing that has left me sad and heartbroken."
Wes Brown was well known in his neighborhood and among Tulsa's contra dance community. Contra dancing is similar to square dancing with Irish or folk music; a "caller" tells the dancers what moves to make and the crowd moves in unison.
"When he was in junior high, he went to Methodist camp, and he danced there," Marquetta Brown said. "That's when he found out he really liked dancing."
Wes Brown's stepdaughter, Erin Harper, said her first time to see this type of dancing - something her mother and Wes Brown bonded over - was at their wedding reception, when she was 19.
"He glided like a cloud," she said. "It was amazing."
Wes Brown went to dance camps around the country over the years and was trained to call dances, which he did for the Tulsa group's monthly dances.
Harper said she was shopping with her mother when she got a phone call Saturday afternoon informing her that there had been an accident and that she needed to go with her mother to St. Francis Hospital.
"Mom and I were talking on the way there, and I was trying to be extremely calm," Harper said. "We were rationalizing a lot."
They waited for hospital staff to come out and talk to them and finally got the news.
"We were all just blown away and in shock," Harper said.
It's been particularly difficult for Harper's little sister, who was standing with her father when he was shot. People in the store rushed to help and to watch his daughter, but it was a traumatizing event.
"That's the worst of it," Harper said. "That's the part that terrifies me - that she had to be there and see that and live that."
Repairs to the store's entrance continue, said Susan Busch, a Best Buy external relations representative. Managers hope to reopen the store Tuesday, she said.
"We abhor the loss of life, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by Saturday's tragic events," the retailer said in a press release Monday.
Counselors have been made available to Best Buy employees on site and through a 24-hour phone line since the shooting, Busch said.
Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS (2677) or submit a tip online at tulsaworld.com/crimestoppers Tipsters can remain anonymous and may receive a reward.
Funeral services for Wes Brown will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church under the direction of Stanleys Funeral Service.
Memorial fund set up for daughter
The family has established a memorial fund for Wes Brown's daughter. Donations to the Madeline Rose Brown Education Fund can be made in that name at any Bank of Oklahoma location or mailed to Bank of Oklahoma, P.O. Box 1300, Tulsa, OK 74102.
Original Print Headline: Friends honor victim
Amanda Bland 918-581-8413
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310
Jim Brown (left) and Joe Sellner, members of the Florence Park Neighborhood Association, put teal-colored ribbons on the fence at Florence Park in memory of Best Buy shooting victim Wes Brown. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World
Graydon Wesley Brown: A neighborhood statement said it hopes the tribute of ribbons will "come to stand for the citizens calling for an end to the senseless violence."
Maria Barnes (left) and her daughter Maria, members of the Florence Park Neighborhood Association, put together ribbons in memory of Best Buy shooting victim Wes Brown. "The community has to decide (that) when these things start to happen, we're not going to cover for these guys," City Councilor Blake Ewing said. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World
The suspected Best Buy shooter is seen in a video surveillance image from Tulsa Promenade mall. Courtesy