Archie Brown Jr. was driving to Home Depot on Sunday with a friend when he fatally struck a 2-year-old boy with his van, his family said. Moments later, he lay dying, shot in the head as he tried to help the child, according to police and family members.
A 15-year-old boy, Rasheed T. Chiles, was also shot and later died at a hospital, Milwaukee police say. Coroner's officials identified Rasheed as the 2-year-old's brother.
"He was a good man," Brown's sister, Qianna Brown, 34, told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. Brown, 40, had four daughters; his youngest is 6 months old, she said. He would often round up his kids and hers and take them out -- to state fairs, on shopping trips or to the park. "He was a tender-hearted person, so I know he was there and probably wanted to pick the baby up. I know he must have been crying."
According to police, Rasheed and 2-year-old Damani T. Terry were attending a party at a house nearby. The toddler ran into the street and was struck by Brown's van about 5:10 p.m. Sunday, police said.
Brown was "distraught about hitting the child, stopped and exited the van immediately," witnesses told police officials, who called it an accident. Moments later, Brown and Rasheed were shot by an "unknown suspect," authorities said.
Brown was pronounced dead at the scene, and Rasheed later died at the hospital, according to police. Police say they are working to identify the shooting suspect, and that the investigation is ongoing.
Brown's father, Archie Brown Sr., said he spoke at the scene to police, who showed him a photo of his son's body, and told him he had been shot "more than once."
"It was terrible," Brown's father told The Times. "I'm sorry about what happened to the other family, too. ... But nobody wins in that situation."
Qianna Brown said a witness told her family that after her brother hit the toddler, a man went into a house, retrieved a gun, and then shot Brown in the head.
Brown Sr. said his son's friend, who was riding in the car, fled the scene as soon as the shooting began and called one of Brown's brothers. "He told him, 'Hey man, someone's shooting your brother,'" Brown Sr. told The Times.
He and his son were close, Brown Sr. said. During football season, he spent every Monday and Thursday night at his son's house watching games. Once, when he was sick in the hospital for eight days, Brown, whom he called "Junior," took care of him and repaired his truck.
"He was an upstanding, good guy," Brown Sr. said.
"My family is taking this extremely hard. We've never lost anyone to gun violence," Qianna Brown told The Times, adding that she believes her brother was killed in retaliation for the accident. "You have to be cruel and cold-hearted to even think like that."