A year after Brandon Bradshaw was fatally shot, family and friends gathered in the parking lot where the shooting occurred for a brief ceremony of remembrance.
The anguish and courthouse protests that came after the Feb. 26, 2013, shooting outside Michelle’s Consignment on U.S. 31-W By-Pass gave way Wednesday to prayers and hugs as people shared their memories of Bradshaw.
Close to 30 people came to the event, marked by prayers for emotional healing.
A number of people signed a banner hanging from a truck that stated, “We love you, B-Rad. We are broken, but undeniably hopeful.”
Randall Erskine, a bandmate of Bradshaw’s in Christian rock band Cord of 3, led one of three prayers at the gathering.
One of Bradshaw’s closest friends, Erskine said many have struggled at times to cope with their grief at the sudden loss of Bradshaw, who died March 2, 2013, from his wounds.
Tommy Brown, then a Warren County court security officer, shot the 27-year-old Bradshaw in what has been characterized by police as the culmination of a road rage incident. Brown was not charged with any crime, and several of Bradshaw’s friends and relatives protested outside the Warren County Justice Center last year on the day the grand jury cleared Brown.
“We don’t want to be out here picketing and causing a scene like last year,” Erskine said. “I think Brandon’s memory is starting to go from what happened to him to who he was and what he did for every one of us.”
Erskine said he has felt a lot of anguish and frustration during the past year but has been helped by seeing others, including Bradshaw’s family, cope with the loss of the youth theater director and former Warren County constable.
You didn’t see one of us without the other,” Erskine said of his friend. “It’s been amazing to see how everyone has come together to help his family. ... The family has extended to a few hundred people.”
Bradshaw left behind a wife, Heidi Bradshaw, and three young children, and people in the community have held fundraisers to help his surviving loved ones.
Stephen Meredith was one of a few people at the gathering who wore a black graphic sleeved T-shirt memorializing Bradshaw. The shirt’s design on the front is adapted from a picture of a grinning Bradshaw wearing a striped shirt and necktie.
Proceeds from the shirt sales and other fundraisers during the past year have benefited Bradshaw’s family.
Meredith became a friend of Bradshaw’s when they were in high school, and he remembers his friend’s goofy humor. The weekend before the shooting, Meredith said he and Bradshaw spent a late night hanging out at IHOP watching funny YouTube video clips.
“As time goes by, memories fade, but with Brandon it hasn’t at all,” Meredith said. “His memory and legacy is different.”
Ken Casavechia, another friend of Bradshaw’s, was one of the first people to arrive at the gathering and offered the first prayer.
“Most of the people you see here are friends of Brandon. ... If you didn’t know Brandon, you should have known him,” Casavechia said. “We pray that if there’s any justice to be served, that it will be served.”