Henry Brown, the Seminole County man who killed his wife, two children and himself this week, was supposed to surrender his handgun and shotgun when a judge granted an injunction of protection for his wife.
On Wednesday, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said he never surrendered his weapons, and no one followed up to make sure he did.
- Henry Brown, 30, stabbed and ran over his estranged wife, then killed kids
- Chericia Brown, 31; Henry Brown, 4; Aleah Brown, 1; all killed
- Judge ruled Brown was to stay away from his wife and surrender firearms
- Seminole County Sheriff's Office says Brown didn't surrender guns
In a Seminole courtroom, Judge Melanie Chase determined that Chericia Brown and her children could be in immediate danger.
“She could very easily be in danger of domestic violence,” Chase said.
On Jan. 8, 2016, Henry Brown was ordered to stay away from his wife for one year and could only see their two small children with her permission.
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He was also ordered to “surrender any firearms and ammunition.”
“He simply did not do it,” former state prosecutor John Gihon said.
Gihon said this violation is too common in domestic violence cases.
“He was in violation of multiple state and federal laws the minute he didn’t turn over those firearms,” Gihon said. “So the laws are there, but enforcing them is always the problem.”
He said the burden normally falls on the victim to try to enforce the law by reporting any problems, but that may not be an easy task if the victim is no longer living with her abuser or is staying at a shelter.
“She doesn’t know if he has turned over his firearms or not,” Gihon said.
And that’s why he thinks changes need to come from the legislature to fix the cracks in the system.
“We have to come up with some sort of structure where we require our local Sheriff’s Office to proactively enforce these injunctions, if not for any other purpose than to prevent tragedies like this and to take firearms away from dangerous people,” Gihon said.
“Criminals aren’t going to follow the law.”
He added that legal papers weren’t enough to prevent Henry Brown from stabbing his wife, shooting his two children and taking his own life.
Seminole’s Child Protective Services unit released their in-home investigation report following a domestic-violence call in December.
After interviewing both parents about an altercation that took place in front of their children, they closed the case, citing no substantial findings of family violence threatening the children.
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic abuse: