New York State Trooper Sean M. Brown, who was shot by Ralph Phillips in June during a traffic stop, spoke yesterday in Chemung County Court at Phillips’ sentencing. We are thankful Trooper Brown recovered and returned to work, and was able to give a victim impact statement at the courthouse. Below is an article from the Star-Gazette newspaper of Elmira describing Trooper Brown’s statement.
‘For me, this is over’
Trooper Brown, his father and sister talk about shooting’s impact on family.
By Salle E. Richards
December 21, 2006
State Trooper Sean M. Brown hopes Ralph "Bucky" Phillips never has the opportunity to cause pain to a family the way he did to Brown’s.
Brown, 31, shot by Phillips in June during a traffic stop in Veteran, talked Wednesday about the shooting as he addressed Chemung County Court before Phillips was sentenced.
Brown spoke primarily about the effect the shooting had on his family and the pain they went through.
"You will be in prison the rest of your miserable life," Brown told Phillips.
Looking directly at the man who shot him, Brown said the people in the courtroom were there to support Brown’s family and the other law enforcement families affected by Phillips’ lawless spree that included shooting two other troopers in western New York, one of whom, Joseph Longobardo, died of his wounds.
"None are here for him (Phillips)," Brown said. "He is nothing."
Brown’s father, Terry Brown, and sister, Katie Roush, also spoke in court.
Terry Brown started by calmly describing the kind of person his son is, one who has always volunteered to help others and has done his best to make his community a safer place.
Even in school, Sean Brown would stand up for the little guy and take on bullies, Terry Brown said.
Sean Brown joined the military and served in the Persian Gulf and in Bosnia.
Terry Brown described Phillips as a cowardly, "back-shooting dog."
Sean Brown, whose voice was calm and clear when he spoke, leaned over to his mother and took a tissue to wipe his eyes as his father read his statement.
Katie Roush also directed harsh words at Phillips, calling him a coward and waste of resources.
After describing her brother as an honest person and loving father and husband, she looked directly at Phillips.
"When I look at you, I don’t see any of those qualities," Roush said.
Phillips turned to look at Sean Brown and his father as they read their statements. He would not look at Roush.
After Phillips was sentenced, Brown and his family gave a brief news conference outside the courthouse.
Sean Brown said that while he can’t help but think about being shot by Phillips, he hasn’t considered another line of work.
He addressed the press with Trooper Donald Will at his side.
Will was Brown’s partner on June 10 and drove the wounded trooper to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira for treatment.
"I was ready to go back to work the next day," Brown said. "For me, this is over."
Other family members said the opportunity to speak in court does give a sense of closure.
Terry Brown said it was very satisfying to look in the eyes of the person who shot his son and tell him what he thinks of him.
"I’m happy," Sean Brown said. "I believe (Phillips) got what he deserved."
Link to Star-Gazette newspaper, which features photos from the sentencing