Deputy Brown succumbed to injuries sustained 11 months earlier when he was assaulted by a member of an extremist religious organization. A large group of deputies were attempting to arrest several of the church members when they were attacked by a mob of extremists with firearms, rocks, rakes and metal pipes. Deputy Brown was struck in the chest with a five-foot long metal pipe, causing him to suffer a bruised heart.
The following July, Deputy Brown was operated on to remove a blood clot from his heart. Two months later he suffered an aneurysm and died.
Deputy Brown was survived by his parents and two sisters.
Deputy Mourned by 500
Deputy Jeff Brown was eulogized by a priest Wednesday at funeral services attended by about 500 lawmen and civilians as “willing to lay down his life, even for unjust persons”.
Brown, who would have been 26 years old Wednesday, died Saturday at a Tucson hospital. The death may have been caused by blows Brown received during an October 1982 clash between deputies and a church group in Miracle Valley.
Brown told investigators he was hit with a metal pipe, stick, a board and rocks during the melee. Two members of the Christ Miracle Healing Center and Church were killed and several deputies were injured during the skirmish.
Authorities said Tuesday it could take a month before the cause of Brown’s death is determined. Cochise County Attorney Beverly Jenney said it would be determined whether a homicide investigation will be opened in Brown’s death once tests are complete.
Uniformed officers from law enforcement agencies from as far North as Phoenix joined white gloved Cochise County Deputies, about 20 Miracle Valley residents and Brown’s family and friends for the 1 p.m. services at the St. Andrews Mission Church, nestled in the Huachuca Mountain foothills Southeast of Sierra Vista.
On a blustery, chilly day, the overflow crowd heard the Reverand Richard Voigt blame Brown’s death on violence.
“Jeff is a sign of divine life and many other signs,” said Voigt. “It is also a sign of stupidity and senselessness in our society that a good man may die trying to uphold the laws of our society.” Voigt called Brown “that rare person willing to lay down his life, even for unjust persons.”
After the service, a motorcycle escort and some 100 police vehicles with their emergency lights on led a procession that stretched more than two miles from Yaqui Street down State Highway 92 to Hatfield’s Funeral Home, for another gathering of family members and close friends.
From there, the police procession turned West on Fry Blvd. To the Knights of Columbus.
Official pallbearers at Brown’s funeral were Dan Ryan, Paul Gruen, Craig Emanuel, Jim Messerly, Luis Rodriquez and David Wheeler.
Uniformed officers from at least three counties, Pima, Gila and Coconino attended the service.
Among Brown’s survivors are his parents and his two sisters.
*By Paul H. Rubin as printed by the Sierra Vista Herald Dispatch on September 29, 1983
It is a sign of stupidity and senselessness in our society that a good man may die trying to uphold the laws of our society…” Arizona Daily Star, September 29, 1983:
“Deputy Brown was a darling. He was one of the nicest people I ever met from Sierra Vista and he was a friend and a man of God and he loved everybody. When we lost him, we lost a friend…” Mae Belle Taylor, a Miracle Valley resident who attended the funeral
We Miss You Jeff
Police Memorial, Washington D.C.
Bob Randall and Mark Dannels