Funeral planned for teen who died after fight with off-duty officer

This is a family photo of Chris Brown, a 17 year old Randallstown High School ROTC student, who died after a dispute with an off-duty Baltimore county police officer.
This is a family photo of Chris Brown, a 17 year old Randallstown High School ROTC student, who died after a dispute with an off-duty Baltimore county police officer. (Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun)

The family of Christopher Brown, the Randallstown teenager who died after a confrontation with an off-duty Baltimore County police officer last week, has met with Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger, who asked for patience and updated them on the investigation, their lawyer said Tuesday.

Family members also have scheduled his funeral for Saturday, according to the Browns' attorney, Russell Neverdon.


Shellenberger has promised a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to Christopher's death. According to Neverdon, Shellenberger said investigators have interviewed neighbors and some of the children who apparently were with him the night of his death.

In an email, Shellenberger declined to comment "until the investigation is complete, a final autopsy is released and the office has an opportunity to review the entire matter."

Police said Christopher Brown, a 17-year-old junior at Randallstown High, was with a group of teens when one threw a rock at James D. Laboard's front door on Susanna Road. Laboard, an officer with the Woodlawn Precinct, ran after the teens, catching up to Brown on nearby Starbrook Road.

Brown had hidden in some bushes, and Laboard told him to come out. When Brown did not, police said Laboard grabbed him. The two got into a physical confrontation and Brown fell unconscious.

According to police, Laboard called for help, and a nearby resident called 911. When officers arrived, they found the officer administering CPR to Brown.

Laboard, 31, who joined the county force in 2002, has been put on administrative leave pending an investigation. No charges have been filed against him.

The police officers union attorney who is representing Laboard, Michael Davey, declined to comment Tuesday.

The Office of the Medical Examiner ruled Brown's death a homicide by asphyxiation.

Brown's mother, Chris Brown, said last week she wanted answers about the final moments of her son's life.

A friend of Brown's who told The Baltimore Sun that Brown was not the one who thew the rock that hit the officer's door. He said Brown was reluctant to stay with the group, and Brown's mother has said her son complained to her weeks earlier of teens in the neighborhood throwing rocks at doors.

Neverdon said his team is "getting information on what happened to this young man," but has not decided whether to pursue legal action. "We still haven't heard from the officer."

He said the medical examiner's office has not yet released photos of the body, which would show if there are any signs of bruising.

At this point, he said, "it's more of an investigation of liability. … We want the public at large to be aware of what's going on," he said.

A viewing for Christopher Brown will be held 4-8 p.m. Friday at Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Services, 8728 Liberty Road. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Colonial Baptist Church, 9411 Liberty Road. A wake precedes the service at 9 a.m.


Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Hermann contributed to this article.