Braswell cause of death released

Braswell cause of death released
The fight happened at this house on Duitman Road, off Mock Road (WALB image)
The fight happened at this house on Duitman Road, off Mock Road (WALB image)
Braswell was decorated for valor in the Army (WALB image)
Braswell was decorated for valor in the Army (WALB image)
Joshua Hall knew Braswell for 11 years (Source: WALB)
Joshua Hall knew Braswell for 11 years (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A Dougherty County death investigation continues after an Atlanta man died, following a fight with an Albany man.

The autopsy on 37-year old Wesley Braswell was conducted at the G-B-I Crime Lab in Macon Friday morning.

The District Attorney says witnesses told police that Charn Johnson put Braswell put in a chokehold during the fight Wednesday.

Shortly after Johnson released him, Braswell fell down unconscious and died.

Wesley Braswell, from Atlanta, died after being involved in a fight in the 2200 block of Duitman Road about 1:35 Wednesday afternoon.

The preliminary cause of Braswell's death, according to officials, is asphyxiation. Witnesses told Dougherty County Police that the man involved in the fight with Braswell, Charn "C Jay" Johnson, had Braswell in a choke hold.

They said Johnson held Braswell in the hold for some time, and then released it. Braswell staggered around for a few seconds before collapsing, unconscious.

WALB interviewed Braswell in 2010, after he had been awarded one of the Army's highest accolades for bravery. In 2006, then Specialist Braswell was a team medic, driving a truck in a convoy headed across Northern Iraq, when the lead truck hit an IED and exploded.

"But I heard the people. I had to get to them. So it was no other way. So I went through there and got to the people," said Braswell in a previous interview about his service.

Live ammunition in the truck was going off as it burned, with three wounded men inside. Braswell went in to save them.

While Braswell tended the wounded, he fired warning shots at another suspected enemy vehicle approaching them. Their maps were burned up in the attack, but Braswell was able to lead the convoy to their destination because he knew the area.

In the incident on Duitman Road, police say Braswell had a gun, leading to a fight between him and Johnson.

No shots were fired, but Braswell fell unresponsive during the fight, and died. An autopsy is underway.

"We've got to gather the facts about what occurred there and we've got to gather the facts about what the cause of death was and what resulted in the death.  So at this time we don't have anything for criminal charges," said Dougherty County Police Captain Tom Jackson.

"Number one we are evaluating the forensic evidence, but preliminarily it appear to be a circumstance that there will be issues of stand your ground and self defense," said Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards.

No charges have been filed, as the death investigation continues.

WALB talked to a close friend of Braswell's Thursday night. Joshua Hall knew him for 11 years and speaks highly of the war hero's character and life.

"He was a hero, he went to war, he put his life on the line for us and then you come home and lose your life over something senseless," said Hall. "It's just hard to believe."

Hall said he had just talked to Braswell the day he died and was supposed to see him later that day.

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