‘How did he do that?’: Mother of man who hanged himself in Jefferson County jail searching for answers

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Delores Brown didn’t know why her son was in Alabama, let alone in jail.

On March 26, Brown was at home in Newark, New Jersey, when she received a call from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office about how her son, Sharik, whom she had not seen since he had left home in 2019, was on a ventilator at UAB. to the hospital after attempting to hang himself in his Jefferson County Jail cell. It happened on March 7, three weeks before she got the call.

“I said, ‘Why did it take so long?'” Brown said. “They said they were trying to find me.”

A few days later, Brown boarded a Greyhound bus for Birmingham to see her son, arriving at the hospital a few days later on March 30. Hospital staff told him he had been on a ventilator and had just been able to open his eyes. She sat by his bedside while she read the Bible to him. Within 45 minutes, Sharik was dead. He was 24 years old.

Weeks after her death, Delores Brown is still trying to figure out what led to her son’s death.

“I feel like something happened,” she said. “How did he do that?”

Sharik Brown had been in Jefferson County Jail since February 18. The day before, he had been arrested after allegedly threatening a manager of a Moe’s Southwest restaurant on the freeway. 280, while having a stolen laptop, wallets and cash on him. He was later charged with harassment, resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia, as well as several charges of theft and burglary.

On his prison file, Sharik’s address was listed as Dothan. However, Delores Brown said that aside from having family on her mother’s side in town, she didn’t know why he was in Alabama. The last time the pair spoke was in November, when he said he was in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

According to a report by Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Bill Yates, Sharik was being held in a private cell in the Jefferson County Jail to undergo a mental evaluation. At 1:17 p.m. on March 7, a deputy came to his cell to check on him after noticing his cell camera was covered and he was not answering the intercom. Yates wrote that after finding Sharik hanged, deputies took him down and performed CPR on him. Sharik was then taken to UAB Hospital.

Delores Brown said that given Sharik’s poor health in hospital, she wonders how long it took before the deputies could reach her.

“They said if he succeeded, he would never be able to walk, talk or eat again,” she said. “How long was it before you got it?”

According to the coroner’s report, no “admit blood” remained at the time of Sharik’s death and no analysis was performed from the specimens available at the time of his autopsy due to the time elapsed between hanging and his death. dead.

“I am of the opinion, based on the circumstances surrounding the death and the results of the examination, that Mr. Sharik Brown died of asphyxiation by hanging,” Chief Coroner Gregory Davis wrote. “Manner of death is best classified as ‘suicide’ for public health certification.”

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office declined to answer CBS 42’s questions about Brown, adding that they do not release details about suicides in the jail. The only thing they would confirm was that Brown was in the Jefferson County Jail from February 18 to March 7.

Delores Brown has doubts about what she was told. For one thing, she never knew Sharik was suicidal or had mental issues, aside from anxiety. More than anything, she wants to make sure everything has been done the right way to help her son.

“As long as people did everything they could, if they did everything they could and they couldn’t save him, that’s fine,” she said. “But if they haven’t, that’s a problem.”

Now Brown is working to get her son back to Newark, but she said her job to find out what happened to him isn’t done.

“I see my son is the only person this is happening to,” she said. “That’s my goal. That’s my goal, to prevent this from happening to anyone else.


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