Deputies: Father killed son during argument over car

Michael Anthony Brown, 54, of Winchester Street, is charged with murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and possession of a stolen handgun in connection with the fatal shooting of his 19-year-old son.

For a moment, the tension within the brown-brick home on Winchester Street had seemingly started to fade.

That changed when a single gunshot echoed throughout the North Charleston area community off Ashley Phosphate Road, killing 19-year-old Michael "Mike Mike" Brown Jr. the night of July 26.

Charleston County sheriff's deputies didn't have to search long to pinpoint a suspect in the shooting. The gunman who fired a bullet into the teen's head, authorities learned upon arrival, was Brown's own father.

Michael Anthony Brown Sr., 54, of Winchester Street, was being held last week at the Cannon Detention Center on charges of murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and possession of a stolen handgun. He was booked into the facility roughly three hours after the shot was fired, according to jail records.

What compelled the man to reportedly gun down his son remained unclear in the days that followed. Three people who were at the home Thursday evening declined to comment on the situation.

Arrest affidavits for Brown Sr. alleged the violence stemmed from an argument. The documents, however, did not offer any insight into what the family was arguing about.

Sheriff's Maj. Eric Watson on Friday said the dispute had something to do with a car but that he did not know specifics beyond that detail.

The dispute appeared to de-escalate as the younger Brown started to leave the home around 10 p.m. that Saturday night. Then his father walked to a back room and retrieved a 9 mm pistol, authorities said.

Brown Sr. told investigators he intended to scare the teen with the weapon. He took things a step further when he pointed the barrel of the gun at his son and pulled the trigger, deputies reported.

"The defendant demonstrated forethought and malice once he left the scene of the altercation to retrieve a firearm and came back to the argument brandishing the firearm," the affidavits stated. "The defendant's actions directly resulted in the death of the victim."

Three separate callers, including the teen's mother, turned to 911 moments after the gunfire.

"He shot him, oh my God. ... I need an ambulance please," the woman managed between screams and labored breathing.

She referred to the shooting as an act of "domestic violence" before telling a dispatcher that her husband "accidentally" shot her son, the tapes revealed.

First responders found Brown Jr. lying on a porch and bleeding from his head.

"Please sweetheart, I love you! Please hang in there," the woman cried as an officer worked to restore the teen's heartbeat about nine minutes into the call.

"Oh my god! This can't be happening. This can't be happening," she said.

Faint signs of life noted by paramedics didn't last. Brown Jr. was pronounced dead on arrival at Medical University Hospital, authorities said.

When questioned by sheriff's deputies, Brown Sr. reported that he purchased the gun used to kill his son from an unknown person. The weapon had been reported stolen out of Dorchester County, authorities determined.

A judge set a total $100,000 bail for the stolen handgun and firearm possession charges. He will remain in jail, however, because a magistrate can't set bail on a murder charge.

The brush with the law wasn't the man's first. State Law Enforcement Division records show he was convicted on a simple assault charge in 1980.

The disposition of that charge was not clear Friday.

Brown Sr. also was charged but not convicted of criminal domestic violence in 1995, SLED records showed.

North Charleston police arrested Brown Jr. in connection with a drive-by shooting in December 2011 when he was 17. Two men and a woman were injured in the incident on Hunters Ridge Lane, North Charleston police reported.

He was charged with six counts of attempted murder and two counts of firing into a dwelling. The disposition of those charges wasn't clear Friday.

The fatal shooting was the tri-county area's thirty-third reported homicide this year. Eleven of those deaths occurred during the year's summer months, records show.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at