Caledonia native remembered after tragic Walmart shooting

CALEDONIA, Miss. (WCBI) – Anthony Brown’s death made national headlines after he was gunned down in the Walmart store he managed in Southaven.

Brown began his career with Walmart at the Columbus store and also worked in Shreveport, Louisiana, before moving to Southhaven.

However, before he was a team member and manager at Walmart, Brown’s dreams were tied to another team, an athletic team.

“He was a darn good pitcher,” said Bubba Woods, who coached Brown in youth league baseball.

Brown loved playing baseball.

He was a standout in his hometown of Caledonia, and starred on the high school baseball team where he was a pitcher.

In fact, the right-hander was so good that he earned a baseball scholarship to East Mississippi Community College after high school.

“He was a pretty good hitter and he could play about any position you put him on the field,” Woods recalled. “He was that good.”

“I have several memories of us on the practice field and traveling to games,” said Matt Smith, Principal at New Hope High School who coached Brown at Caledonia. “He coached first base for me. His contribution to my life was probably much more than I ever contributed to his.”

Woods and Smith both had a huge impact on Brown’s life and watched him from childhood to adult hood, that’s why they’re taking the devastating news of his death so hard.

“I get choked up when I think about it because memories came back,” said Woods. “To lose a life that young and the daddy of two little boys, the husband to a fine young lady, and just a good family man all the way around.”

The Caledonia man was shot and killed inside the Southaven Walmart Tuesday morning.

Investigators said he was killed by a former employee who had been recently fired from that store.

“It’s a tragic loss, senseless loss,” Smith expressed. “This town and this country, it’s a darker place because of this.”

“Walmart lost probably one of their top managers in the system when they lost Anthony Brown,” said Woods.

Woods admitted, he’s still having a hard time coming to grips with this tragedy, so to help him get through this tough time, Woods said he’ll continue to reflect on the fond memories he shared with his former player.

“You don’t spend that many years with young men and forget them,” Woods described. “That was the type of young man Anthony Brown was. You don’t forget him.”

Both coaches said as good as Brown was on the baseball diamond, he was an even better person off the field.

They described him as a soft-spoken person with a good work ethic, and someone who loved his family.

“You don’t expect a young man to go to work on a Tuesday morning and not get to go home to his family at night,” said Woods. “That’s what happened to Anthony. He went to work yesterday morning and that was the end. It’s so hard for me to fathom that somebody can take a good persons life like that.”

“What do I remember most about him, he had just the most humble spirit ever,” said Smith. “He was the most respectful young man. If I asked him to run through a wall he would try it. He did everything he could. He was coachable, and he was really talented.”

Police have identified the suspect as a former store employee, 39-year-old Martez Abram.

Abram is also accused of killing 38-year-old Brandon Gales of Hernando.

He is charged with two counts of murder, and more charges may follow when he is released from a hospital.

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