Brannon Brown, front and center, shows off the proclamation honoring him as a hero. With him are (clockwise, l-r) Commissioner Sonna Singleton, Detective John Gosart, mom Ashley Brown, Chief Greg Porter, Ashley Brown’s boyfriend, Grant Gosdin, and Brannon’s sister, Kyleigh Brown.
By Kathy Jefcoats
CONLEY — The Brown family isn't holding out for a hero, they have one in 9-year-old Brannon.
Clayton County police Chief Greg Porter and Commissioner Sonna Singleton recognized Brannon Brown recently for trying to save his sister from a would-be carjacker, who is also a suspect in an April shooting that left a man dead.
Kyleigh Brown, 5, was sitting in the family's 2003 Acura TL in their driveway on Greenwillow Way June 17 when a stranger came from nowhere to steal it, said Officer Danielle Rosa.
That's where big brother Brannon Brown stepped in.
"He tried to stop (the man) from stealing the vehicle but he was thrown out and struck with the car as (the man) fled the scene," said Rosa. "Kyleigh was found a short time later on Shieldcrest Way in Forest Park."
Porter said Brannon Brown deserved the recognition because he put his sister ahead of himself.
“When you think of the word ‘hero’ what comes to mind? A police officer? A firefighter? A soldier?” said Porter. “How about the strength and courage of a 9-year-old boy who did not think twice to save his younger sister. Brannon Brown did not hesitate when Damian Heard stole a vehicle from his residence with his sister in the car. Brannon Brown displayed unparalleled bravery at such a young age.”
The family dodged a bullet in its encounter with the man, later identified as Damian Durrell Heard, 22, of Aberdeen Street in Atlanta, Rosa said. Heard has a long criminal history in Clayton County and is a suspect in the April shooting death of a man on Rock Cut Road, less than a mile from the Brown home.
James Daniel Evers, 33, was killed when three black males in a green Mercury Mountaineer with a Fulton County tag opened fire on him, said Rosa.
Evers had an extensive criminal history. According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, he was most recently released from prison in 2010. His prior convictions include drugs and theft in Clayton and Henry counties.
It is unclear if his background played a role in his death.
"Heard is a suspect in numerous open cases including home invasions and a homicide," said Rosa. "He is pictured with numerous weapons on his Facebook page."
Rosa said Heard has a permanent address in Atlanta but is known to frequent the Conley area and has been seen on foot to and from Parker's Grocery on Rock Cut Road.
Heard has been charged with kidnapping, cruelty to children, aggravated assault and robbery in the June 17 alleged incident.
Anyone with information on Heard's whereabouts should contact Detective John Gosart at 678-878-5642.