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Monday, August 20, 2012 - Page updated at 09:31 p.m.
Skyway fire district to host backpack giveaway honoring Alajawan Brown
By Sara Jean Green
Seattle Times staff reporter
Medics from King County Fire District 20 in Skyway routinely respond to shootings, but the April 2010 shooting that killed 12-year-old Alajawan Brown was the first they were called to involving a member of their own community.
"In Skyway, we've had multiple shootings, but the people usually aren't from Skyway," said Dave Nelson, a spokesman for the fire district, who responded to the scene of Alajawan's shooting. "The guys were the ones who performed CPR on Alajawan, so there really is this deep connect."
When Nelson and others at the fire district learned that Alajawan's parents, Ayanna and Louis Brown, had started a nonprofit in their son's honor and were collecting backpacks and school supplies to distribute to local kids, firefighters reached out to the family to see how they could help. As a result, they will be hosting the Browns' backpack giveaway during a health and safety fair on Saturday.
A couple of weeks ago, Ayanna Brown called the fire station and said her house was crammed with donated backpacks and supplies, Nelson said. The fire chief gave his permission for the Browns to move the items into the district's training center, across from the fire hall, he said.
Those who still want to donate to the foundation in Alajawan's honor, Alajawan's Hands, can bring items to the training center during business hours, or after hours at the fire station, located directly across 76th Avenue South.
"Our West Hill community is unique. We have multiple languages spoken, and often people aren't able to afford just the basic needs for school," Nelson said. "This is really Alajawan's vision of wanting to help — and this is really helping kids in his community."
Alajawan was fatally shot in the back in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store at South 129th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South on April 29, 2010. His killer, a gang member now serving a 50-year prison sentence, mistook Alajawan for a rival gang member involved in a shootout at a nearby apartment complex.
Nelson, whose own son was 9 when Alajawan was shot, said he can't drive by the 7-Eleven without thinking about Alajawan and his family.
"It was a senseless act" that angered many in the fire department, he said.
"The entire department, even the people who didn't respond (to the shooting), all we have to say is 'Alajawan Brown' and everybody knows what we're talking about."
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or email@example.com
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