Kyle Brown, 17

The day after her youngest boy is shot, Adriene Brown can't leave her bedroom. Twenty-four hours later, she's too dazed to plan another funeral.

Two sons murdered in five months.

Kyle Brown

"I think," she says softly, "I'm going to need therapy."

Kyle Brown, a junior at Benjamin Franklin High, will be buried tomorrow - 13 days after his death.

"I needed time," Adriene Brown says simply.

On the killing fields that have cropped up on the South Philadelphia landscape, 21st Street between Mifflin and Moore is a block of sorrow. The Browns aren't the only family to be doubly victimized; four doors down, Angel Anderson is still recovering from spring's carnage.

In April, Anderson's son Christopher, 17, was wounded by a teen who apologized to the horrified mother: He had meant to shoot Chris' brother Terrell. A few days later, Terrell, 16, was executed.

In May, Kyle's older brother Derrick, 23, was gunned down at 21st and McKean. Adriene and husband Sam had barely begun to mourn when Kyle was killed while hanging out with friends on South Hemberger Street, a half-mile from home.

Those who knew Kyle say he tried to keep his head down in this neighborhood - which police say is rife with competing "crews" of kids fighting for everything from respect to drug corners.

With three older brothers he adored, Kyle didn't mind the nickname "Baby." He sang in the church choir, and hoped to establish his own rap label someday.

Relatives from as far as Seattle have come to support Kyle's parents, who have been together for more than 25 years.

Adriene Brown worried as she watched her block - though still full of friendly neighbors - turn deadly. She kept her sons on the porch as long as she could, and drove Kyle to school. This fall, he wanted more independence, so she drove him to the subway.

"It was protection for my child," she says. "That was my baby."

Contact April Saul at 215-854-2872 or

More Coverage