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Shooter's gun malfunctioned, Athens captain says

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — A Saturday shooting between two Athens men could have ended with more than one victim had one man's gun not malfunctioned, said Athens police Capt. Marty Bruce.

The shooting between Jerry Long, 28, of 121 Scotland Drive and Kelvin Lynn Brown, 20, of 108 McClint St. ended in Brown's death.

The shootout began in Long's driveway, Bruce said.

Police had withheld Long's name until Tuesday. Police have not charged him, Bruce said, because it appears Long was protecting his wife.

"Alabama law says you can use deadly force to protect the life of a person," Bruce said.

Bruce said Brown was walking and stopped to talk to a person outside Long's home. That person, who does not live with Long, is a witness to the shooting, and police have not named him.

"Long came out and asked him to leave," Bruce said. "They got into an argument about Brown not leaving."

Four people were in the driveway at the time of the shooting: Brown, Long, Long's wife and the witness.

Bruce said Brown fired first at Long's wife, and then his .25-caliber handgun malfunctioned.

"Brown shot and ran, and would have shot again if the gun hadn't malfunctioned," Bruce said.

Long returned fire with a 9-mm handgun, Bruce said. Police found Brown lying in a yard across from Long's home with wounds to his abdomen, arm and thigh.

Brown's father, Glenn Brown, told The Daily on Monday that his son was not a violent person.

Arrest records

Bruce said arrest records show one prior charge against Kelvin Brown, and that was for carrying a pistol without a permit.

Glenn Brown said his son loved sports and was a former football player for Athens High. He said his son lived with him and was unemployed but looking for a job.

Glenn Brown did not know if his son knew Long or if they had disagreements.

Bruce said the two men "have been acquaintances" and live in the same neighborhood.

"They have gotten along in the past," Bruce said, adding that police have never responded to an argument between the two.

Although police have not charged Long, the case will go to a grand jury.

District Attorney Kristi Valls is out of town at a conference and said via telephone that she did not know many details about the case.

Grand jury

She said a grand jury can look at the evidence and a multitude of charges from murder to manslaughter to criminally negligent homicide. The grand jury can decide if Long should face one of those charges or if no charge is warranted.

Valls said it will be at least three months before the case goes to a grand jury.

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