Law enforcement officials surrounding a Doris Avenue house on Tuesday, August 27, may have implied they didn’t know what had happened inside, but it was clear they suspected the worst.
It turned out Robert Brown, 65, who lived there with his wife Sarah, 71, had been seen in his yard carrying a gun that morning. That information made its way to the Riverhead Town Police. By 9:30 that morning, Suffolk County’s police hostage negotiation team and emergency service personnel joined the local cops outside. For four hours it stayed that way, with Brown stubbornly refusing to open the front door.
A four-hour standoff with police ensued, until a Suffolk County Police armored vehicle rumbled up to the house and took down the front door. Brown was inside with his wife, but she was dead, the victim of a gunshot wound.
He was taken into custody without incident. Held for arraignment the next morning, Brown seemed almost nonchalant, according to police. He declined to hire an attorney and indicated he wanted to proceed representing himself, which the court refused, instead ordering a psychiatric evaluation. Town Justice Allen Smith ordered a court-appointed attorney and in the interim Brown apparently indicated that he indeed shot his wife, causing her death. Outside the courtroom supporters of Brown, believed to be family members, said he had dementia and that the condition seemed to be worsening of late.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office indicated the case would likely be presented to a grand Jury within a day or two.