Shooting victim Brown: ‘it’s not my place to judge,’ McCall ‘will die in prison’
Christian McCall, who shot four York County police officers in January, asked in court Tuesday for forgiveness and mercy for the awful crimes he committed.
That came after McCall blamed a crumbling marriage, job and money woes, and drinking three half-gallons of whiskey a week to achieve the state of mind to shoot four cops.
Sgt. Buddy Brown, one of those wounded cops, whose friend and co-worker Mike Doty was shot next to Brown Jan. 16 and died the next day, wasn't giving out any forgiveness and mercy Tuesday after court finished.
"It's not my place to judge Mr. McCall," Brown said after court.
Brown sat through McCall's three-hour guilty plea wordlessly in the back row of the jury box. Brown, his cane next to him, watched McCall the whole time. McCall did not look at Brown.
After the three-hour hearing where McCall was sentenced to life in prison without parole, Brown was asked by The Herald if he forgave McCall and offered McCall mercy. Brown made no such offer.
The courts, not cops, handle sentencing, judgment and God handles forgiveness, Brown said after court.
Court testimony showed that Brown, wounded, along with Sgt. Kyle Cummings of the York Police Department who also was wounded, shot McCall several times after McCall shot them and Doty. Brown, the ranking officer and leader of the three men, had just told Doty and Cummings they needed to "clear" a deck with a hot tub under it when McCall fired from under the deck.
Doty was shot in the head and later died. Then, Brown and Cummings did what cops do in real life when McCall gave up: They arrested McCall instead of delivering the same death sentence that McCall had just given Doty. They did so after being shot themselves in the legs.
Brown was even shot in the head by McCall and McCall's Hungarian AK-47 style assault rifle. Brown' helmet saved his life.
That's how close Buddy Brown was to lying next to Mike Doty in a morgue.
Brown did say that he "appreciated" that McCall's guilty pleas allowed Brown and the other officers and their families to forge ahead with their lives.
"I appreciate he admitted his actions," Brown said. "It meant a lot that he was able to own up to it. I am glad that he was able to do that."
Brown said that seeing McCall in court, hearing McCall speak after only seeing McCall shoot his teammates Jan. 16, brought "a lot of emotions."
But none of those emotions was forgiveness for killing Doty and shooting the others. Including himself, Buddy Brown, shot in the legs and in the head by a bullet that was only stopped by a steel and Kevlar helmet.
"He's going to spend the rest of his life in prison," Brown said of McCall. "He will die in prison. We won't have to deal with him again."
Brown spoke of being on the SWAT team with Doty, the deceased. Brown spoke of working for 15 years with K-9 handler Sgt. Randy Clinton, who was shot and wounded by McCall first in the incident before McCall shot the three others after SWAT tried to take McCall into custody.
Brown spoke of working in Chester, where he and Cummings both started as cops before joining the York force. That meant he and Cummings were "brothers," Brown said.
And he had a "brotherhood" with the others, too.
"I was on SWAT with Mike," Brown said. "I ran dogs with Randy Clinton for 15 years. Any time you work a specialized unit like SWAT, you get close ties with each other. It made us all tighter."
That tight bond became even closer Tuesday with the shooting, its aftermath, and the closing of the case, Brown said. After Doty was buried in January, the first thing Doty's mother did when seeing Brown in a wheelchair at the funeral was hug him, Brown said.
Brown said he had "no problem" with prosecutors offering life in prison rather than seeking the death penalty against McCall because it allows him to get on with his life.
"I am very pleased with the outcome," Brown said. "It allows all of us to move on with our lives."
The courtroom of the historic York County Courthouse in downtown York was packed Tuesday with more than 120 police officers. One of them was York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson, who praised Brown and Cummings for not essentially executing McCall after McCall had shot them both and killed Doty then gave up the fight.
Both stopped firing when McCall said 'I give up,' Tolson said.
"They handled themselves with the utmost dignity and professionalism," Tolson said of Brown and Cummings. "They chose the high road."
That dignity and professionalism came at a price of both being wounded and scarred for the rest of their lives.
Tuesday, the court case against admitted cop killer Christian McCall ended. After court, The Herald, through McCall's lawyers, asked McCall's wife, who was beaten up by McCall to start the whole ordeal in January, if she wanted to make a statement. Through the lawyers, she declined comment.
York Police Department Sgt. Kyle Cummings, who also was wounded and shot back at McCall, also was at the hearing and said nothing in court. The Iraq war military veteran and father and husband sat in the front row of the jury box. When court was over Cummings slipped out of the historic building.
He stood next to his chief of police, Andy Robinson. Robinson told Cummings how proud he was of him and his courage.
Cummings, who has had several surgeries from his wounds, declined to talk about Christian McCall or McCall asking for forgiveness and mercy.
All Cummings said about the whole ordeal was this: "It's over."
Then like Brown, Cummings walked away from the courthouse with the wounds that will be with him for the rest of his life.