Brain cancer survivor gunned down in truck

11:50 PM, Dec 10, 2010   |    comments
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Clifford Brown Junior

St. Petersburg, Florida - Clifford Brown Junior had two big loves in his life - his family and his golf.

"He's in heaven right now playing 18 holes," says his mother.  She manages a small smile through her tears.

"Only thing I can say is that we miss him," she says while wiping her eyes. "We love him, and I wish I had my baby."

Tunisia Eva always always knew her son was different and needed special care.  Clifford was diagnosed with brain cancer at the tender age of 16.

"It was always hard for him. He was always in pain.  He would tell me, mama, mama my head hurts. I hurt everywhere," Eva said.

The cancer was so invasive that over the years, Cifford had more than seven surgeries, many of them at a specialty hospital dealing with brain tumors - University of California at Davis.

At one point, Clifford had to have part of his skull removed.  The cancer had eaten away at the bone and tissue.

Eva wipes away a tear. "My son was my baby."

She admits to trying for a boy many times over the years and felt blessed when it finally happened.

"Finally God blessed me with Clifford, my son.  He was a small child, but he was my baby," she said.

The youngest of three children, Clifford, nicknamed Peanut by his mother, was the only boy.  He remained close with his mother throughout his life. 

She was his rock.

Despite the pain from the cancer, the father of four eventually got his GED and began going to church.  It was a wonderful time, his mother remembers, the best memories she has.  

Eva explains, ""I'll never forget Easter Sunday.  My mom was trying to find the scripture in the bible, and my mom says, I"ll never forget it, Clifford took the bible from me and went straight to the pasage. She said that boy knows the bible!"

But, on May 20, 2009, both of their lives were permanently altered.

Eva lowers her head, "I

It was early in the morning, and Officer Tower knocked on my door."

Eva says she will never forget that moment.  She wondered who could be at her door and why.

The night before, while watching a basketball game with his sister and her boyfriend, Clifford left suddently.

He got in his red truck and left without telling anyone where he was going.

Hours later, his body was found in the 4300 Block of Dartmouth Avenue in St. Pete.  His truck slammed into a home, and his body was slumped over in the front seat full of bullet holes.

Detective Rodney Tower from St. Petersburg Police tells 10 News, "He actually went out, and they heard the door shut, didn't have any contract with them.  They assumed he was going to the store, going somewhere real quick. Unfortunately the next thing they know is us knocking on the door."

Detctives say that there were not witnesses when Clifford was killed, 

It was late at night in the neighorhood.  There was no surveillance, but they do have good evidence.  All they need now is someone to step foward for information.

Clfford's mother says what hurts her the most is that her son's killer is still out there.

"I'm glad he's not in pain anymore,but I'm upset at the people who took his life."

"The one thing I love now is his children.  That is my love now," Eva said.

If you know who killed Clifford Brown Junior, please call Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-TIPS.

To visit the website, click here.

Melanie Michael

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