The Post and Courier story this morning on Omar Brown’s gas station shooting missed a very important point: He lost his partner in the line of duty five years ago after a crazed gunman went on a downtown shooting spree.

Brown and 21-year-old parole violator Antonio Rivers bumped in to each other inside the gas station Monday. According to witnesses, Brown left the store and got into his car when Rivers approached him holding a gun. Brown pulled out his gun, between 12 and 16 bullets were exchanged and they were both wounded.

Brown’s partner Dennis LaPage was killed in January 2002, the last victim of a gunman who had shot two MUSC nurses, killing one and injuring the other. The man then ran through downtown streets with his gun, spotting LaPage near the College of Charleston and shooting him three times.

I think it is impossible to tell the story of Brown’s shooting Monday and not mention the loss of his partner to a gunman five years earlier. Brown spoke with me last week in an interview for his run for mayor and I asked him about how LaPage’s death impacted him.

“It shook the very foundation that I stood on,” he said. “It was the first time in my life that I was literally destroyed. My resolve to come back and continue to do the work that we had set out to do was stronger than destruction.”

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