INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Many of the Indy’s Unsolved murder cases we probe happen at night, in private, with no witnesses to explain what they saw.
That’s not the case in the killing of Phillip Brown.
Last June 29, in a park neighboring the Blackburn Terrace Apartments on Indianapolis’ north side, approximately 30 people witnessed some or all of the murder of Brown by a man everybody recognized.
“I do have an understanding of what the motive was in this case, this was an isolated incident with an individual who had a confrontation with Mr. Brown in the past,” said IMPD Detective Harry Dunn. “Mr. Brown thought that the entire beef and/or issue was over with at the time so it's believed that him and the suspect were walking and joking with each other at the time that he was shot.
“It is believed that the individual put his arm around Phillip Brown, hugging him around the neck, and shot him.
“Not only was it too quick, it was also unexpected.”
Within minutes Brown’s sister arrived in the 3100 block of Brouse Avenue and began quizzing witnesses.
“At that point in time it started frustrating me. ‘I’m seeing y’all out here, you don’t know nothing!’” Alaya Day recalled shouting at the witnesses. “They tell me, ‘I understand, sis. I love bro like he was my brother and I know it's hard and we here for you,’ and I don’t believe none of that.
“It's this code. The street code.”
The don’t-ask-don’t-tell code that’s ingrained into the residents in many of Indianapolis’ toughest neighborhoods was well known to and perhaps even practiced by Brown himself, according to his mother.
“He was shot four months prior and they was waiting for him to heal,” said Kelly Hutchison.
Brown claimed he didn’t know who shot him and the case remains unsolved.
“My son had just told me two weeks before his death, ‘Momma, you right. It's time for me to get out of the streets.’
“I know for a fact that he was not too happy about several of his friends that had lost their lives the same way and he told me like two weeks before that he wasn’t too happy about it and I told him there is nothing we can do. Just pray about it. Give it to God and stay out the way. He said, ‘Mom, I’m staying out the way, I’m staying out the way,’ and that’s what he was doing.”
Brown was the father of two small children, a son who hugged his casket at the cemetery and an infant daughter who died two days later and was laid to rest in his arms.
“No mother should have to sit in this seat to say, ‘If you see something, say something,’” said Hutchison. “Thirty people? That bullet could’ve hit one of them babies out there. There’s kids out there.
“Everybody wants to speak to the dark. It's time to come to the light. My baby needs justice. If you love him the way y’all say you love him, it's time to come forward.”
Det. Dunn said he needs a witness to go on the record and confirm the name of Brown’s killer.
“I can tell you I am aware of who that individual is, that individual was arrested for different charges and is still currently incarcerated.”
If you know anything about the murder of Phillip Brown at Blackburn Terrace last summer, call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS and earn up to $1,000 for your information.