Crime - Sacto 911

Stabbing suspect’s mom: ‘I don’t think he’s homophobic’

Timothy Brownell
Timothy Brownell Sacramento Police Department

The mother of midtown stabbing suspect Timothy Brownell said Wednesday that she is heartbroken by allegations that her son uttered homophobic slurs before stabbing three musicians this week.

Lori Brownell, 54, who is gay, said the incident did not reflect the upbringing of her son, an information technology worker in Sacramento.

“He was very protective of me and took issue with anyone who had a problem with his mom being gay,” Lori Brownell said in an exclusive interview with The Sacramento Bee. “I don’t think he’s homophobic. He’s never said anything derogatory.”

Instead, she said the incident resulted from post-traumatic stress disorder. Brownell, 25, who grew up in Dixon and graduated from Dixon High School in 2007, served four years in Afghanistan with the Army before returning to California in 2011, his mother said. She said her 2001 divorce from Brownell’s father was unrelated to her sexual orientation.

Brownell is accused of stabbing three musicians on the corner of 21st and O streets late Sunday after a physical altercation, according to police. Authorities said alcohol was a factor in the incident. The victims’ wounds that were not life-threatening. His attorney, Robert Bratberg of Santa Rosa, said he will enter not guilty pleas at this arraignment Thursday.

Brownell was first arrested Sunday on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and illegal possession of a firearm. Police said they found guns during a search of his residence. He was released Monday on bail.

But police arrested him again Tuesday evening following new information that the incident was hate-related. He remains at the Sacramento County Main Jail in lieu of more than $1 million in bail and declined an interview request.

Police said the suspect allegedly uttered “sexual orientation epithets” before attacking the musicians. In social media posts, the injured musicians all said their attacker referred to them with homophobic slurs because they were wearing skinny jeans.

The victims were identified as guitarists Alex Lyman, Weston Richmond and singer Blake Abbey.

None of their injuries were life-threatening. Lyman posted on Instagram that he suffered a 4-inch stab wound in his side not far from his spleen. Richmond broke his right hand and had minor cuts.

The band posted on Facebook that it will still headline the Sacramento Concerts in the Park event Friday, though Richmond will not be able to perform.

Abbey, the lead singer for local band Musical Charis, said on his Facebook page that he was stabbed in the arm and required surgery.

Lori Brownell, a manager at the California Department of Transportation, said her son was not receiving treatment for PTSD, but has no doubt that the incident occurred because of the disorder.

“I have watched him over the years since he came back,” she said. “It’s a slow recovery process.”

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