Four Generations present, three shot

Colleen Brown, 24, lived with her mother Joan Brown, 53. Her grandmother Claryssa Bryant, 74, lived down stairs from them. Also in the household was Colleen Brown’s child. I have seen a number of ages for the child, but the range seems to be from 16 months to 2 years of age.

Colleen Brown has been reported to have been in a long term relationship with the father of the baby Sheldon G. Harris, 23. Friends and neighbors say they had been dating for 5-6 years. But they also report there were problems in the relationship. Some have called Harris jealous and aggressive. Some have said that he had stalked her in the past, some say that he had actually been seen hitting her. Some say that Joan Brown had been concerned enough about his actions to believe that his presence might be detrimental to her daughter and/or the baby. So allegedly he was barred from the apartment. Neighbors however say the relationship continued, and the couple would meet in the parking lot of the building. Police say they had been called to the address one or more times for domestic violence calls, though whether or not charges were ever filed is unclear as one media reports one thing and another media sources reports something different. However, there was no protection order in place.

On Monday morning Harris allegedly got to the apartment about 11 am. The first person he made contact with was reportedly Colleen Brown. Allegedly a struggle began and Harris shot Brown three times.

Joan Brown and Clarissa Bryant tried to come to her assistance and they were each shot one time. Then Harris turned the gun on himself.

A friend who was also visiting at the apartment was unharmed, and the baby was unharmed. Joan and Colleen Brown, Clarissa Bryant and Harris were all transported to the hospital. Joan Brown died at the hospital, Colleen Brown is being reported as in critical condition and Clarissa Bryant is reported as stable condition.

Harris has been charged with one count of murder, 2 counts of attempted murder, and 3 counts of criminal use of a firearm. He is also reported to be in critical condition.

The child is reported to be with other relatives.

It is difficult for a parent when they find out their child has been abused. They can advise, they can encourage them to get out of the relationship, they can even provide them with information about the resources in the area which can assist them. But one thing they cannot do is make them bring the relationship to an end. As adults that has to be their decision.

Police have not released a motive or preciptating event  for the shootings. But I would wonder. The couple were reportedly on a date the previous night. Then he shows up at the home with a gun the next morning. The argument and the shooting reportedly began at the door, and the mother and grandmother reportedly became involved when they attempted to come to Brown’s aid. Certainly this wouldn’t be the first time that violence occurred when someone attempted to break off an abusive relationship. Still that is only conjecture on my part.

When attempting to leave an abusive relationship, most people should have assistance. Many women will say- he wouldn’t go that far. But if they have not seen him in that situation before, how would they really know? And even if they had seen him in that situation before, who knows what factors might be different and might influence the abuser toward more, escalating violence. A domestic violence agency is not a miracle agency. But they are able to offer assistance, resources, support, and advice to aid in leaving the relationship in a safer, more effective way.



  1. Brenton Giff said,

    September 13, 2006 at 1:09 am

    I am Joan Brown’s brother.This article pretty much covered whatever happen on that day and I hope that no one will get it twisted.

    R.I.P Joan J Brown
    Love you forever

  2. Christine said,

    December 2, 2007 at 4:47 am

    this is not how the story went…there are two sides to a story…its a shame that sometimes mistakes outrule the truth…

  3. December 2, 2007 at 6:30 am

    Christine, this was written from what was known soon after the murders. If there have been changes, then feel free to share them with us by leaving a link to a newspaper article or a court document. If you do have changes, then I will update the post. Otherwise, it stays as is. Has Harris gone to trial yet or is there a trial date set?

  4. Brenton Giff said,

    December 8, 2007 at 4:02 am

    I don’t know who you are Christine,I am sure you have your own version(mystery),don’t add to the confusion.

  5. bailey said,

    August 26, 2008 at 4:37 am

    The situation is very unfortunate…but a person could only take so much…and I agreee with Christine, I have up close and personal experience, and there are definitely 2 sides to every story…there is no confusion, and this could have all been avoided…

  6. August 27, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    You may want to be cautious of the statement that a person can only take so much. Are you implying that murder is ok if the person has had “too much?”

    What would you consider too much? Would the shooting of three members of one family be too much? Are you inferring that Harris should be shot? If you are I have to point out that you could be construed as attempting to incite an illegal act. I’m not sure, but I believe that in itself is an illegal act.

    Besides that, where would it stop? Harris shoots and kills, then someone comes along and kills Harris, then someone comes along and kills that person? Sorry, but no matter “how much” has happened, there are other options. Violence is not the answer.

  7. Brenton Giff said,

    April 13, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    This one is for you bailey….”This could have all been avoided” you are so right,don’t pull the trigger but I am sure you have another suggestion.

  8. juror Q said,

    May 26, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    first and foremost condolences to the brown family, As well as apologies. I had an opportunity to serve on the potential jury today involving Mr.Sheldon Harris this afternoon. I looked at this young brother this afternoon and felt a strange feeling in my gut. I wasn’t selected and soon after i searched for information on this case and I feel so bad I didn’t serve. I vow to take jury duty seriously in the future, even though my faith in the judicial system for african americans is slim to non-existant.

  9. Brenton Giff said,

    June 26, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    The jury has spoken”GUILTY” end of story.

  10. Donald Reid said,

    August 14, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    You are such a hypocrite Brenton, you didn’t love her when she was alive, but now you do!

  11. violence said,

    August 14, 2009 at 7:52 pm


  12. Brenton Giff said,

    August 25, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    He was sentenced today,47 years without parole and deportation if he survive.He should be very happy he is alive!!!!!!!!!

  13. Rosemary Gibbons said,

    August 26, 2009 at 3:12 am

    Well Brenton Giff you shouldn’t rejoice over your enemy the Bible says. And according to Donald you didn’t love her when she was alive, thank God you decided to now. You of all persons should understand suffering and pain, as we all know you have several family members in jail, I am sure it wasn’t for good deeds. And your nephew accidentally murdered someone, and that family forgave him, and they were denied the opportunity to see their child grow, he should thank God he is alive too. Be sure the fight for justice continues, as Mr. Harris’ family is behind him. Mr. Harris will survive!! The public is praying for him as they know the real deal! And don’ forget to mention that he was acquitted of a serious charge, so that means the story wasn’t all straight.

  14. Don said,

    August 26, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Yes Rosemary I do hope the public is praying for Mr. Harris & his family. The young man made mistakes. His first mistake was getting involved with that family. They are horrible people. Then he made a bigger mistake of sticking around until they pushed him over the edge.

  15. Brenton Giff said,

    August 27, 2009 at 2:45 am

    That is really interesting,I made a statement,where did you see the joy?He committed the crimes and you are blaming the victim.I don’t know you are Donald but sure looks you spent a lot of time investigating me.
    My family is at home with me so whoever is in jail that is related to me,I am sure they deserve the punishment,I suffer no pain from their wrong doing.How do you accidentally murder someone(oxymoron).
    We all know what Sheldon did to his own family and yet they support him(that’s great) but let me leave you with this,whatever story you may believe it’s a fact that he was the only person involved that killed someone and attempted to kill two other,now ask yoursef this,what if it was your family member that was murdered.

  16. Brenton Giff said,

    August 27, 2009 at 2:47 am

    I am sure you have never met me so its usless to make a comment.

  17. Brenton Giff said,

    August 27, 2009 at 2:57 am

    You my friend is a moran,do I know you

  18. Brenton Giff said,

    August 27, 2009 at 4:24 am

    Wow,three little women,ages 24,52,74(the family that you know)if they can”push him over the edge”what’s going to happen in the next 47 years.If I was dealing with a “horrible” family,I would definitely walk away but thats just me,if someone didnt want to be with me,I would definitely walk away…………get the picture.

  19. Don said,

    August 27, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    So you don’t think you can accidentally kill someone. What if one of those young women you were beating had died from getting hit on the head (Cerebal hematoma). I am sure you would have said it was an accident!

  20. Brenton Giff said,

    August 28, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Like I said Donald,you are a moron,do you know the difference between accidentally killing someone and murder.Which women did did I beat,spit it out man,where do you get your stories from,why don’t you identify yourself,I can give you a phone number and we can have a good old chat.

  21. Don said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I don’t need to talk to you. You know what you did, deny it all you want, but know this – It’s your SINS that fell on your “three little women” End of story.

  22. Brenton Giff said,

    August 28, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Hey don,the more you speak the more illiterate you sound,we answer for our own sins.
    I like to talk to intelligent,obviously you are not,an intelligent person can tell the difference between right and wrong and can clealy see that Sheldon is wrong and has to pay the price for what he has done.We all must suffer the consequences for the wrong we have done,trust me I have paid my dues.I have never murder any one,if I do ……well off to prison I go.You are making excuses for him and avoiding the entire issue by throwing in rumors about my family and I,so out of respect for my mother and niece,this discussion is over.
    Hey Don,keep up the fight,maybe one day it might get Sheldon release(don’t hold your breath),no matter what you,his family,friends and supporters do or say,the fact still remain that he commited the crimes and MUST now do the time


  23. chosenone said,

    December 22, 2009 at 5:10 am

    Sheldon was my best friend and i knew him very well. We grew up in co op city together and he came from a good family. He was intelligent and one of the smartest if not the smartest kid in my school. Never in a million years could I have envisioned such a situation for him to be in. It hurts me to my soul to know he will spend the rest of his life in prison and will not ever fulfill his destiny of greatness. I do not know the circumstances of why and how this occurred, but I do know Sheldon was not a killer!!! No matter what I will fight and live my life for you my BROTHER…keep ya head up, I know you will b/c you are strong and will not allow this situation to bring u down.. ONE LOV!!

  24. Yolanda said,

    March 23, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I was online just now actually searching Ms.Bryant and I came across this article. I know this family very well. Ms. Bryant took care of both my children. She is a very special person. Her along with her daughter(RIP Joan) and grandaughter was always there for me. My children adore them. I am no one to judge but it takes a bigger man to walk away from any situation. I am sure there are plenty of men who are in the same situation as he and arent in jail for the rest of their lives because they walked away. Mr. Brenton I havent had the pleasure of meeting you however I want to contact Ms Bryant. I have since moved out of NY. and lost her contact information. My email is

  25. Novlette said,

    March 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    How can people justify killing someone in a situation like this? Too many times in the Black community we condone domestic violence by blaming the victim. If he was not their to harm anyone why was he carrying a gun? It is a natural instinct for mothers to protect their daughter and Joan died doing that. When will we learn to settle our differences in a civil manner? Domestic violence is a big problem in this country. We need to stop justifying the crime, and blaming the victim. The lady who said everyone is praying for Mr. Harris, he will survive. He did survive! I would love to ask her who is praying for Joan? Is that what the bible teaches you #@ck the victim and glorify the killer. INTERESTING!!!! Do people really think before they write. These article justify the saying that “IGNORANCE IS A BLISS.”

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