PCC staff member Dr. Carol Brown lost her life in an alleged double homicide that took place at her home in Altadena yesterday afternoon while in a Zoom conference call with a co-worker.

LA County sheriff’s deputies said they found Brown, 67, and her brother Kenneth Preston, 69, stabbed to death at their home after responding to a call from a colleague who was on a Zoom conference with Brown when the incident took place. The colleague called 911 after witnessing the attack. 

On Monday, March 22, around 2:45 p.m. deputies responded to the 3100 block of N. Marengo Avenue in Altadena regarding a possible kidnapping in progress according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department. After arrival, they found Preston stabbed several times and deceased in the driveway of the location. Brown was found inside the residence and deceased. 

“During the investigation, detectives learned that the female victim was conducting a Zoom call with a colleague when the attack on the male occurred,” Deputy Tracy Koerner of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.“The Zoom caller witnessed the attack on both the male and female and called 911 to report the crime.”

Upon initial investigation, police found that a vehicle was missing from the Brown residence. Authorities later reported that Robert Cotton, Dr. Brown’s 32-year-old son, was taken into custody and booked for two counts of murder when he arrived at the location of the incident with the missing vehicle and identified himself as a resident. 

The LASD is continuing to investigate the incident with Lieutenant Barry Hall leading the case. The department asks that any information on this incident be shared through their Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. 

Dr. Brown most recently served as co-coordinator of the campus Black STEM program and worked at PCC for 15 years. She was also DreamKeepers coordinator alongside Foster Youth Success Initiative liaison. 

“I am completely shocked and horrified by what has happened today,” President Dr. Erika Endrijonas said in a statement Tuesday morning. “Please know that the college is doing everything it can to assist law enforcement, respond to Carol’s family and loved ones, and mourn this terrible loss.”

In recent years Brown served as an executive board member for The Association for Black Employees (TABE) on campus. 

“She inspired many students and colleagues to dream big in the area of academics, and was a constant support to those who were thinking of or had started doctoral studies in higher education,” TABE said in a statement to the community. “Dr. Brown could be heard encouraging future doctors to ‘hang in there, doctor. The journey may be long, but it is worth it.'”

Endrijonas urges PCC community members to utilize campus counseling services as well as the school’s Employee Assistance Plan during this time.

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