Courier exclusive: Danielle Brown meets with Duquesne Univ. officials, not satisfied with answers given about her son’s 2018 death

by Ashley Woodson, For New Pittsburgh Courier

Pittsburgh Police have said that 21-year-old Marquis Jaylen Brown jumped from a Duquesne University dorm room on the 16th floor to his death in October 2018.

But Danielle Brown, Marquis’ mother, isn’t buying what the police and university are selling.

So much so that she spent the past days on a hunger strike at Freedom Corner in the Hill District, demanding more information, more answers from authorities and university officials.

“I’ve been knocking and knocking, and I still don’t have any answers two years later,” Danielle Brown told the New Pittsburgh Courier exclusively, July 5. “I’ve been knocking through my attorney and through Pittsburgh Police trying to find out what happened to my son, hoping that people will come to me. Maybe they felt after graduation they would be open enough to share as opposed to be able to share while they were still students.”

Investigators said that Marquis Brown, of Washington, D.C., had marijuana in his system when he jumped from the window—a window that was broken after he allegedly broke it with a chair. Witnesses told police Marquis Brown was acting “erratically” in his dorm room.

But Danielle Brown wants to know how the up to four people who were in the same dorm room with him somehow didn’t prevent Marquis from jumping out the window. She told WPXI-TV (Channel 11) on Monday, July 6, that “either the four people in the room watched him jump out that window, or they had their hands in participating in him going out that window.”

“Two years later I now see that I need to have an independent investigation,” Danielle Brown told the Courier exclusively. “I need to know what happened to my son and I don’t need anyone else’s narrative. I only want the narrative that my independent investigator can deliver. They’re not attached to Duquesne University or the Pittsburgh Police department. It would be a person being able to have access to information and give me an informed explanation of what could have happened to my son and not leaving me scratching my head.”

DANIELLE BROWN holds a photo of her son, Marquis Brown, at Freedom Corner, July 5. (Photos by Courier photographer Ashley Woodson)


Danielle Brown told the Courier that she believes anything could have happened to her son, including being slipped “an acid drug. At this point, anything is possible without the truth. Not too long ago, the police department said the case was closed, but on the news the other night, they said the police department said the case is always open…which one is it?”

Danielle Brown added: “There were four people in the room when my son supposedly jumped out of the window and no one did anything to stop my son. It just doesn’t make sense. And he had a gash on his head because someone hit him. Fifty percent of the window was still intact, so I think he was unconscious and bent over when he went out of the window. This whole scenario was suspicious from the beginning. The only way to solve this case is to have an independent investigation to trace his steps.”

On June 21, the family and friends of Marquis Brown held a rally and march in the Hill District and Uptown, demanding more answers into the Duquesne football player’s death. Danielle Brown was in attendance at the rally, and then returned to D.C. But she’s back in Pittsburgh.

“What brought me back…at Freedom Corner is the symbolism of St. Benedict The Moor (church) where the statue’s hands are stretched as if it’s praising God,” Danielle Brown told the Courier. “This has been a spiritual walk for me. The hunger fast is spiritual and I’m willing to lay down my life for my son’s truth and narrative that makes sense. It’s either not being able to breathe at home in Washington, D.C., or come here to Pittsburgh to get my oxygen. This has given me the ability to find out the truth. This is to let them know I’m here and to finally get some answers. I also have demands for change for reform and this is what’s giving me oxygen.”

Late Tuesday, July 7, the Courier learned that Duquesne University officials went to Freedom Corner and met with Danielle Brown. She returned to Freedom Corner around 7:30 p.m. that evening, and told a group of supporters that the university “didn’t give me any names of the people in the room when my son died. I don’t have ballistic reports and I’m hoping through my own independent investigation that I will receive that information.”

Danielle Brown said that Duquesne offered her a hotel room and dinner, “but I didn’t come here for that. They did not have to share with me (information) but I’m grateful they did. Unfortunately it was information I already knew.”

She said her goal is to raise funds for an independent investigation “to get to the truth for justice for my son, Marquis Jaylen Brown.”


Editor’s note: To contribute:

CashApp Account is: $Danniex2



About the reporter/photographer

ASHLEY WOODSON is a freelance photographer/reporter for the New Pittsburgh Courier.


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