"I just truly believe that there's better ways of handling anger or a bad situation," she said.

Her son, a rising junior, had torn his anterior cruciate ligament during his most recent wrestling season and had been wearing a leg brace for the past two months. Christopher shouldn't have been running, his mother said.

He had told her two weeks ago about other kids in the neighborhood throwing rocks at houses and was upset about it, she said.

Christopher Brown has no adult criminal history listed in state records.

In the past weeks, her son exercised his injured leg by walking around the neighborhood, Chris Brown said, and she believes he just got caught up at the scene — hampered from fleeing by his brace — after other kids threw rocks.

"He took matters into his own hands — all the way," Brown said, referring to the officer. "He didn't get taken to the hospital, but my son did."

Brown said her son was a good kid who helped out at church. She had made an effort to keep him active with sports and not roaming the streets with other neighborhood kids. He also played lacrosse and was a member of his school's ROTC.

"I didn't want him to be caught up in the city life," she said.

Anderson, the pastor, said Christopher was part of his church's youth ministry and served as a junior usher for the past several years. "He was a real nice guy, kind of soft-spoken. He was athletic."

He described Christopher as "a typical kid. He didn't always do things right, like a normal teenager, but he wasn't one to be in trouble with the law."

Albert Howard, a physical education teacher at Randallstown High who taught Brown this school year, said he was shocked when he heard the news of the teen's death.

Teachers see "some kids living on the edge, taking chances," and kids at the school have died in years past after being shot or getting into trouble, Howard said.

But Brown wasn't the type of kid who "shook the dice" by living a dangerous life, Howard said.

"He was a fun-loving kid, nothing malicious about the kid, very respectful."

He said Brown was a promising athlete who, at about 5 feet 10 inches and 175 pounds, "definitely figured in the plans for the future of the Randallstown football program."

Howard had invited Brown to the Coppin State football camp this weekend to keep him involved and thinking about the game through his injury.

Ray Wright, one of the high school's football coaches, said Brown had a "promising future" and was voted one of the junior varsity football team's "Unsung Heroes" this season because he played so many positions.

The school's varsity football coach, William Crawford, said he planned to use Brown as the team's starting center and long snapper.

Crawford said many players on the school's junior varsity football team had taken the news hard. Some didn't show up to a seven-on-seven interschool football tournament at Franklin High School on Thursday night, while others seemed distracted on the field, he said.

"They took it really hard," Crawford said. "It's affecting them mentally."