‘Never stop fighting’: Family hopeful as new technology offers 1st lead in years in cold case shooting

New cellphone technology helping Jacksonville detectives with cold case

New cellphone technology is helping shed light on the death of Jerry Brown in 2016. Brown was killed in what appeared to be a drive-by shooting.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New cellphone technology is helping shed light on a Jacksonville cold case from 2016 on Henrietta Street.

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office detectives said there wasn’t a lot of evidence initially, but things might have taken a turn.

On Jan. 28, 2016, 22-year-old Jerry Brown was sitting in his aunt’s driveway after dinner, talking on the phone with his cousin.

His cousin then received a phone call from his mom, so he clicked over to answer it, placing Brown on hold. When Brown’s cousin clicked back over to their call to finish the conversation, Brown didn’t answer, but the line was still open.

“At about that time, the aunt whose house that they were at calls into the cousin on the phone,” JSO detective Ray Reeves explained. “And so he takes that call, and she says that she’s worried. She just heard gunshots outside of her house out front, and she looked out the window and she saw Jerry’s car is still in the driveway, he lights are on, the headlights are on. She can’t see him. And she’s worried.”

That worry soon turned to grief.

When officers arrived at the scene of the shooting, they found Brown in the car with gunshot wounds.

His cousin, Chevie Green, said she was starting to fall asleep that night when she received back-to-back phone calls from her mom.

“She was unexpectedly hysterical, you know. She was screaming that -- his nickname was Tude -- so she was screaming that Tude had been shot,” Green said. “And it didn’t make sense, you know. It doesn’t fit him or even where he goes or who he’s around so it was like, ‘What do you mean shot?’ My mind couldn’t wrap around what she was trying to say.”

Green remembers begging to see her cousin’s body.

“I just kept thinking I could say, ‘Wake up!’ But they wouldn’t let me,” she said. “The way he was taken was unimaginable, but I still like can’t believe he’s gone. We were just talking to him. We were just joking. We were just saying I love you and just, ‘What do you mean he’s gone?’ And in such a horrific way.”

For years, Brown’s loved ones had no answers. His case had no good leads — until recently.

“One of our senior detectives has this case,” Reeves said. “And he’s digging through the old case evidence using new cellphone technology. Technology has changed so much even in the last few years. And so our senior detective is looking at all of the old evidence, all the items that have been looked at before and then trying to see if they can match with any new technology.”

Meanwhile, Brown’s memory lives on through his family.

Brown was a family man who loved to sing and was known for singing in his church choir. He had a scholarship to attend Bethune Cookman University and he put it off to take care of his mom, who had cancer.

His mom died a few months after the shooting, but Green said she will continue to fight until they get answers.

“His mom asked me to never stop fighting for him,” Green said. “And I told her I will never stop.”

Reeves said even what may seem like random or insignificant information may finally help break this cold case so anyone who knows something about this case is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or CrimeStoppers 1-866-845-TIPS.