Family members are mourning the ambush-shooting death of a man killed just nine months after his brother was also slain.
Brandon Carpenter, a 28-year-old father of four, died Tuesday just after he left his longtime barber shop. Police say more than 20 shots were unleashed on him from at least two shooters.
His brother, 26-year-old Joshua Carpenter, was shot to death Feb. 21 near an apartment building in the 1700 block of 33rd Street North.
“We miss our brothers,’’ said Demitri Carpenter, the oldest of the three brothers. They also have three sisters.
“I hate my mom has to bury her second child in nine months, and this happened three days before her birthday and a week before Thanksgiving.”
“All of us are believers in God and we understand what the Bible teaches us, that none of us are exempt from death,’’ Demitri said. “They are in a better place.”
The gunfire erupted just before 1 p.m. Tuesday on 41st Street North just off Messer Airport Highway on the edge of Tom Brown Village.
When police arrived, they found Brandon unresponsive in the alley. He was taken to UAB Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later from multiple gunshot wounds.
In the moments leading up to his death, it appeared Brandon knew he was in danger.
He sent a message in his family’s group text telling them he loved them.
Then, at 12:44 p.m., he texted one of his sisters, “They tryna kill me,” with a sad face emoji. “Dnt call kuz I can’t talk.”
“It’s heartbreaking knowing in his final minutes and hour, he had to deal with that – unsure whether he was about to live or die,’’ Demitri said. “We believe it was his finally moments.”
“I know Brandon was very strong, but he was tired though,’’ he said.
“Tired with life, tired of dealing with the death of our brother, mentally tired, physically tired.”
Brandon was disabled, in part from a shooting in 2016 in which he was struck multiple times.
“He couldn’t work because he couldn’t stand on his feet for long periods of time,’’ Demitri said. “But he was well taken care of by our family.”
Demetri said Brandon was the father of two boys and two girls, all grade-school age.
“He was present in all their lives. He did a good job being a father to them because none of us had a father coming up,’’ Demitri said. “I got to see up close and personal how good of a father he was.”
Brandon was a fun person to be around, his brother said.
“A lot of people would call him the life of the party,’’ Demitri said. “He had a big personality. He loved to dance, loved music.”
Demitri said Brandon and Joshua were particularly close because they were in school together at the same time. All three brothers attended Woodlawn High School.
“It’s ironic they died nine months apart but that’s just the way they were,’’ Demitri said. “They did everything together.”
In Joshua’s death, Birmingham’s North Precinct officers received a 911 call just after 7:15 p.m. of shots fired in the 1700 block of 33rd Street North, in Birmingham’s Norwood community.
Shortly after receiving the call, police received another saying a person had been shot.
Officers arrived on the scene and found Carpenter unresponsive in a grassy field near an apartment and suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
No arrests have been made.
Brandon, Demitri and their mother were all together when they received word of Joshua’s death.
“Brandon was just all over the place,’’ Demitri recalled.
“I believe God did that by design, taking Josh first because had he took Brandon first, Josh probably wouldn’t have been able to handle it,’’ Demitri said. “Brandon was strong and just a good person.”
“He loved everybody,’’ Demitri said. “He wasn’t a bad person at all, and I’m the first one to tell the truth about people but Brandon was truly a good person.”
“He loved people. He trusted people,’’ he said. “He didn’t deserve this.”
“I want people to remember that Brandon loved people well,’’ Demitri said. “He wouldn’t have hurt anybody.”
Joshua, Demitri said, was a hard worker who just to be happy.
“He wanted a luxurious life,’’ Demitri said with a laugh. “He had several cars and loved traveling. He loved sports just like I did.”
“He was a Clemson fan, and I’m a Georgia fan and we would argue about sports,’’ Demitri said. “Brandon was an Alabama fan, but we had a lot of fun talking about football and I’ll miss that dearly as the big brother.”
“We are a family of faith. They had a long road and they’re resting now,’’ Demitri said. “I have peace in knowing that.”
Demetri said the gun violence must stop.
“Birmingham is plagued by a dark cloud that seem to be lingering over the city,’’ Dimetri said. “A lot of times we look to City Hall for answers, but we have to start doing some soul searching.”
“People in this city have got to start asking the real questions, from the parents inside the homes to the coaches on the sports teams, who have a ton of influence over these kids, the people with the real influence day to day,’’ he said.
“Our community has got to start taking some responsibility for this happening. We’ve got to do more.”