AURORA | Meme followers across the U.S. are mourning the death of a 22-year-old Aurora man — whose video went viral in 2014 — after he was found shot dead this week in front of a tire store.
Police identified the man found dead Sunday morning as Vincent Brown. The itinerant, young homeless man with gang ties became a national sensation several years ago for aggressively telling a man “Today I got time” for an altercation in a viral video.
Linnea Brown, his mother, told the Sentinel that Vincent was a big personality and beloved on Aurora’s streets. He’d been homeless for several years and split his time sleeping in a tent, in cars and in motels, she said. She said Vincent also had ties to local Crip gang members but was more “affiliated” with the gang than an active member when he was killed.
Linnea didn’t know what might have led to his death. But she said he’d experienced violence before.
“He has been jumped, pistol whipped, got his eyes gashed open,” she said. “He wasn’t really one to keep quiet, so if someone said something that he didn’t like, he’d let them know, which I’m sure didn’t help him in this situation at all.”
The Aurora Police Department’s Major Crimes Homicide Unit is investigating the incident. A department spokesperson wouldn’t release more information about the circumstances of Brown’s death.
Police found Brown dead Sunday morning near 10 a.m. outside of Front Range Tire in Aurora near the intersection of East Cornell Avenue and South Peoria Street.
Brown became an internet meme and viral sensation in the “I got time cuz” video. Despite his youth and small stature — just 4-feet and 11-inches tall and weighing 80 pounds, according to police records — Brown espoused the aggressive slang of a hardened gangster, calling himself Greal Da Savage. His viral video tirade was aimed at a partially obscured man holding the hand of a toddler who had earlier asked Brown to “take off his flag” — a bandana signaling his gang affiliation.
Brown’s screed took off in internet culture.
In 2017, rap sensation Trippie Redd kicked off his track “It Takes Time” with the audio of Brown’s viral video. Countless memes referenced the young man before his death last week.
Now, Instagram and YouTube commenters are flocking back to the original viral video, posting their condolences en masse.
End of Sentence by 1090 Jake spent several minutes this week remembering the “funny” kid who became an overnight sensation and waxing on the tragedy of people who fall into gang life, hoping to impress others and not themselves. He ends with a song written by Vincent and sung about the death of Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson, Missouri police officer. Youtuber B.Y.3Dahardway also dedicated a spot to Vincent.
Brown’s mother said Vincent attended Parklane Elementary School and Aurora West College Preparatory School in Aurora before they briefly relocated to Missouri. He didn’t finish high school, she said. The family was homeless for several years beginning in 2015.
“He kind of, more or less, grew up on the streets in his teenage years,” she said.
Linnea said Vincent struggled and was homeless for the last six years. But he was well known in the community, she said. Despite his gang affiliations and posturing in the viral video, she said he had a big heart.
“I watched him give his shoes to someone on the street one time, because they needed them more than him,” she said. She said he wasn’t afraid to stand up for people, especially if he saw a man hit a woman.
Vincent had a long rap sheet that included a slew of minor charges such as: probation violations, failures to appear in court, trespassing, obstructing police officers, traffic charges, making false reports to police and shoplifting, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations.
But he also had several convictions, including: registering a fictitious license plate in 2016; possessing “dangerous drugs” in 2017; reckless driving the same year; another drug possession conviction in 2018; smuggling contraband into prison in 2019; and yet another drug possession conviction that year.
In September, Brown posted on Facebook that he’d been shot in the hand after someone tried to kill him.
“Keep a ear to the streets i want to know who the f*** (popped) me asap….” he said.
Linnea, his mother, is grieving the loss of her son. The family has created a GoFundMe page and expects to hold services. Details are pending.