A fight between two brothers turned deadly Thursday afternoon.
One young Birmingham man shot his brother in front of their Fountain Heights apartment, and then turned the gun on himself. The fatal bloodshed, police said, all happened in front of their mother.
“The mom is heartbroken. She said they got to scuffling in the house and they got separated and once they went outside, she heard the gunshot,” said Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper. “She walked out there and one son is lying on the ground and the other son committed suicide right in front of her.”
Police identified the brothers as Dewayne Price, 22, and Jeremiah Price, 24. Birmingham police spokesman Lt. Sean Edwards said Jeremiah Price shot Dewayne Price and then killed himself.
The shootings happened about 1 p.m. outside an apartment complex in the 1200 block of 12th Street North. Both brothers were pronounced dead on the scene.
The killing is Birmingham’s 98th homicide this year, compared to 104 last year. Of those, at least five have been ruled justifiable and therefore aren’t deemed criminal. Countywide, there have been 152 homicides this year, surpassing 2016’s total of 151.
Roper described the murder-suicide as a tragedy for the family, and a tragedy for the community. “It’s absolutely mind-boggling how cheap life has become, even in a family situation with two brothers arguing over someone owing money,” Roper said. And when it’s all over, it’s all over, both are lying there side by side in the yard dead. It’s not a police issue. It’s bigger than a police department. It’s a community issue and one that we won’t solve just relying on the police department alone.”
Roper said obviously it is a tragedy that will take time for the family to process. “This is heartbreaking. The bottom line is it’s really beyond words,” he said. “It’s something we can’t even process and understand how this situation could end in both brothers being dead.”
“It’s unfortunate in our society, in modern society, we see violence but when it’s this close and personal, when it affects one family, it’s difficult to deal with,” the chief said. “Now they have to plan two funerals and pull the family together to try to get through that.”
Roper said the violence is not only heartbreaking, it’s also challenging. When these happen, you always think this is going to be the one that is the clarion call , that will change people and touch their hearts but then we go to the next scene,” he said. “We’ve got to change hearts and minds and we’re all struggling with this incident, this gun violence that has really gripped our society.”