A 24-year-old Maryland state trooper killed while working as a restaurant security guard was remembered in funeral services Saturday as an energetic trooper and mentor who pushed young men in his community to be their best.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers and friends filled the 10,000-seat Jericho City of Praise church for the funeral services of Wesley Brown. Many of Brown's fellow troopers, dressed in brown-and-tan uniforms, filed by to salute his white casket draped with a Maryland flag. Placed on top was a bouquet of flowers topped with a trooper's tan hat.
"He always seemed to get hurt helping others," said Ralph Calhoun, who knew Wesley from church.
Police say Brown was working as a security guard at Applebee's on June 11 when he removed a man after a dispute about an unpaid bill. Later, while he was standing outside talking on the phone, he was shot multiple times.
Two men, including the man Brown removed from the restaurant, have been charged in his death.
Lt. Bonnie Morris, Brown's former commander, said Brown did his job with great enthusiasm, always apologized sincerely when he made a mistake and had a tendency to greet people with hugs. She said he was "always eager to learn" and called him "a teacher to us all."
His pastor, the Rev. Robert Tice Jr., said he once suggested that Brown look the other way if he saw the pastor's car speeding. But Brown wasn't about to treat him differently.
"He said, 'Reverand, don't come through my area,'" Tice said.
More than anything else, however, speakers remembered Brown as a mentor to young men. Three years ago he founded Young Men Enlightening Younger Men, a mentoring group. His brother, Sylvester Brown Jr., said he was proud of their work.
"We did so much with nothing," Sylvester Brown said after a video tribute including pictures of the group eating and having fun together.
One member of the group remembered that Brown didn't let them slide. He would ask, "Why didn't you iron your shirt?" or "Why don't you brush your teeth?" He'd admonish others: "pull your pants up," "smile."
His fiancee, Ebony Norris, to whom he'd proposed in May, called him her "knight in shining armor."
Lawmakers also came to offer their condolences, including Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who thanked Brown's family.