Katrina Brownlee is lucky to be alive to tell her story. This is after taking ten bullets over a span of an hour and a half. And the cause of her suffering? Alex Irvin.
There was a domestic violence case that shocked New York City in 1993— that of Alex Ervin and Katrina Brownlee. The fact that Katrina cheated death with a whisker still baffles many today. But what about her assailant? What happened to him? Where is Alex Irvin now?
It’s been thirty years since Alex Irvin the NY correctional officer, committed the horrific crimes against the then 18-year-old single mother, Katrina Brownlee. As you might guess, a lot has happened since then. Read on for the real story of Alex Irvin’s whereabouts.
Who Is Alex Irvin?
Growing up in the streets of Brooklyn, New York, Katrina Brownlee knew what it was like to be homeless, living hand to mouth. By the time she was 18 years old, she was already pregnant with her first daughter, with whom she lived at the Brevoort Projects.
When she met Alex Irvin, she believed he was a godsend. Alex Irvin was a correction officer working at Rikers Island. He had a good stable job, drove a fancy car, and owned a gun. By contrast, Katrina was a girl from the projects with nothing to her name.
Brownlee believed that the city official would end all her problems. He’d protect her and her daughter and buy her a house with the white picket fence she’d always dreamed of.
But Irvin, who was kind and loving at first, became a violent and manipulative abuser as soon as he and Katrina moved in together. His angry temper began showing.
Alex Irvin Got Away With Abusing Katrina Brownlee
During the five years that Katrina stayed with Alex, he continuously tortured her with physical and sexual abuse. Several times, she called 911, hoping to get help from police officers, but this never happened.
Being a police officer himself, Alex got away with his crimes. When law enforcement responded to Katrina’s calls, all Alex had to do was show his badge, and the officers would turn around and walk away, leaving Katrina sobbing, bruised, and afraid for her life and that of her daughters.
“Whenever I called the police on him, they would come, and all they’d do is tell us to work it out. I remember him going outside or to a separate room, and they’d have a conversation, after which they would just walk away,” said Katrina on CBS’ 48 Hours.
After many attempts to get law enforcement to help her in vain, Katrina gave up on calling them.
Alex also probably took advantage of the fact that Katrina had no real family to protect her. Her aging grandmother encouraged her to stick it out despite knowing about the abuse.
“My grandmother told me this man has a stable career, and he can provide for you. You have a daughter, and he is willing to provide for both of you. So, when your grandmother tells you that, you start believing that this is something you should consider,” she said.
Irvin did not stop the abuse even after Katrina became pregnant and gave birth to their daughter. In fact, the abuse got worse, and things would turn fatal when the young family moved to Medford, Long Island.
Irvin Set A Trap For Katrina and Almost Killed Her
Katrina survived years and years of beatings by Alex before she eventually gathered the courage to leave. She and her daughters moved to a local motel but ran out of money after a month, and guess who the 22-year-old Katrina called for help? Yep, Alex Irvin.
When she called, Alex was like a different person. He was cordial, friendly, and sympathetic and even offered to help his pregnant fiance. But it was all a setup.
On January 9, 1993, Katrina went to Irvin’s house with her youngest daughter in tow to pick up some belongings and hopefully get some help from her fiance. But as soon as she entered the house they previously lived in together, Alex began shooting at her.
Katrina, who was months pregnant, says she crawled from room to room, trying to escape the bullets, but Alex was relentless. In all, she took ten bullets, and only a knock on the door, an unexpected visit, saved her.
The person at the door was Alex’s family friend. He and Alex rushed Katrina to the hospital and left her there. Brownlee lost her unborn son on that fateful day.
Doctors could not remove six of the ten bullets logged in her body, and she was told she’d never walk again, but her physical therapist eventually helped her to regain mobility.
Katrina Survived The Ordeal, and Irvin Was Charged With Attempted Murder
There was plenty of evidence stacked against Alex Irvin. A combination of eyewitnesses, his gun, and the horrific crime scene was enough to apprehend him within hours of committing the crime. In fact, it is reported that Katrina’s abuser exclaimed, “I was waiting for you!” when police arrived to arrest him at his home.
So daring and manipulative was Irvin that he tried coaching Katrina on what to say to the court while awaiting trial. While in county jail, he called Brownlee and told her, “You will tell them that you shot yourself ten times.”
The most cringe-worthy part?
Katrina almost gave in to Irvin’s manipulations as she feared him. But Irvin entered a guilty plea before his trial, thanks to a powerful prosecutorial team led by Assistant District Attorney Keri Herzog and equally strong evidence. The court subsequently sentenced him to 5 to 15 years in prison.
Irvin was, however, released from jail in 2003 on parole after serving less than ten years in prison. He’d been denied parole at least two times before the board finally approved his application.
The most perturbing part of Katrina Brownlee’s case was that Alex Irvin used a service revolver to reload the gun and shoot at his five-month-pregnant fiance, asking her if she was ready to die.
Current Status: Where is Alex Irvin Today?
As we mentioned, Alex Irvin was released from jail on parole in 2003.
The former prison guard moved from New York, where he worked and resided for years, to North Carolina to start a new normal life.
He returned to school to obtain the qualifications to work in healthcare solutions.
It is also worth noting that Alex Irvin today seems happily married. So, now you know the current whereabouts and what happened to the man who tortured and attempted to murder Katrina Cooke Brownlee.
Luckily for Brownlee, hers is a story of grace. Her will to live saw her escape a brutal attack to become a top-ranking detective. After a 20-year career where she attained the highest investigative rank, she retired and now lives to tell her story.