My mild-mannered friend and former classmate is gone, thanks apparently to gang violence in which he had no involvement.
An innocent man lost his life because he and his young daughter were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were looking for a birthday present for his wife in a Tulsa business when a stray bullet crashed through a store window and struck him in the chest.
His daughter lost her loving father, a loving husband to her mother. Outside the store, another man, this one with a past of criminal activity, also died. Police say that man was the target of the gunman. My friend’s death was totally unintended.
As of now, the shooter remains at large. His image appears on surveillance video at the time of the slayings. Authorities believe there are those who know him. Authorities, along with my friend’s family, have asked for assistance from the public in locating the killer.
Unfortunately, this incident, which resulted in the death of former Ponca City resident Wesley Brown, is one of many similar events that have made news recently, too many of them. Often, it is an innocent person, such as Wesley, who dies.
For those who knew Wesley, this incident is unfathomable. We remember him as a cheerful, intelligent individual, always smiling, always kind. His personality was warm and generous.
Unlike the individual responsible for his death, Wesley didn’t harm people. He helped them. I remember him as a good student, a friendly sort. He wasn’t big into athletics, but rather more into intellectual challenges.
After we graduated from high school, I didn’t hear much from him until we hooked up again on Facebook. But I hear and read that his interests were about the same as they were when we were in class together and young friends: family- and community-oriented.
I can only hope his family, in particular his young daughter who was with him at the time of the shooting, will recover from this tragedy. I hope the individual responsible for his death will be caught before someone else is harmed.
See the resources area of KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MENTAL-HEALTH-OKLAHOMA for information on the grieving process and how to cope with the loss of someone close to you.