Brown, who was active with Middletown’s Faith United Church, was remembered by family as a loving grandfather who always made people laugh. His granddaughter Ashley Stewart said he owned a toy booth at Traders World Flea Market in Monroe and would run the booth with her son, his great-grandson.
“He was always a very active grandfather, he was very active in my life. He was always there for me and a big family man. The bonds that he built with us was the most memorable. He was always playing with you, making you laugh,” Stewart said.
The shooting took place on a busy part of I-75 in broad daylight with multiple witnesses calling 9-1-1.
“A car pulled up on another car and blasted them, and then the car that they shot at pulled off,” a 911 caller said.
Another 911 caller told dispatch that he was nearby when the gunfire began.
“I had to swerve out of the way,” the man said, adding that he had children in the car.
The caller told police that the shooter was “shooting out the back” of a blue Jeep Liberty four-door. He said that after the shooting, the vehicle left the highway a few miles down the road.
The search warrants obtained by the Journal-News say officers were dispatched in the area of Austin Boulevard on I-75 on a report of a shooting July 27 at around 12:05 p.m.
“The responding officers confirmed there was one occupant in the driver’s seat and had been shot and appeared to be deceased,” the search warrant affidavit says. “Medics were dispatched and confirmed the victim was deceased. There were two bullet holes located in the front passenger door and that window was broken. The victim appeared to have been shot in the abdomen and arm. The driver’s door was open upon the officer’s arrival and his left leg was outside of the vehicle. A handgun was observed on the driver’s floorboard.”
Brown’s family previously told the Journal-News that Brown carried a gun for protection.
In a second search warrant, investigators asked that they be allowed to search a black LG smartphone, a white Microsoft phone and a Samsung Galaxy S7 phone. When investigators found the black LG smartphone, it was on and was receiving several calls from the same number -- which belonged to James' wife, the affidavit said. The other phones were found to be off and located in the center console.
Police, citing the ongoing investigation, declined to disclose what they found in the phones.
The search warrants had been sealed by the court until earlier this month.