Grieving Parents Recall a Shy, Naive Teen

By Theresa Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 29, 2006

On the front door -- past the walkway with a rainbow of waxy stains from a candlelight vigil and under a photo of a child peeking from an oversize baseball cap -- is a handwritten note: "Please, please, please when you come in, only say encouraging words."

Jeffrey Kofi Brown's parents have had less than a week to process the death of their older son, a shy teenager, naive for his age. Prince William County police said Brown, 18, was shot in the head by a friend who was showing off a stolen gun.

"Jeffrey," his mother, Kate Brown, wailed, rocking herself back and forth on the edge of the couch Friday morning. "I want you. Jeffrey, come home."

Brown, a senior at Potomac Senior High School, played on the football and track teams. Before the shooting, he was in the process of applying to colleges, including the University of Virginia, North Carolina State University and Duke University. His dad, George Kwame Boadu, held a letter Friday from Brevard College in North Carolina asking the teenager to play his saxophone for an audition.

Boadu remembered what a neighbor once told him about his son: "This guy is going to be somebody someday."

Friend Marie-Monique Tambu, 18, of Woodbridge said Jeffrey Brown was popular at Potomac High. "A lot of people are very upset," Tambu said.

She and Brown met in sixth grade when they attended the same Alexandria school and lived across the street from each other. They both went to Potomac about the same time.

"He was very shy," she said. "When he got around his friends, he was more outgoing, but still there was an innocence about him."

For her birthday, he had given her a movie ticket that she never got to use. "I told myself I would keep it for the rest of my life," she said.

Tambu, along with about 35 people, mostly friends, stood outside Brown's house three days ago, remembering him at a candlelight vigil.

"Just knowing he won't ever come back," she said. "I can still hear his voice. I can still see his face. I can still remember his laugh, the jokes."

She said that Augustus Kwadwo Apau-Boateng, 19, who is charged with shooting Brown, graduated a year earlier. Apau-Boateng is charged with manslaughter and using a firearm in the commission of a felony. He is being held without bond at the Prince William jail and is scheduled to appear in court March 3.

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