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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘A gifted soul’: Candlelight vigil honors Spokane nurse shot and killed while working at patient’s home

A talented musician, Doug Brant once picked up an out-of-tune guitar with only three strings at a nursing patient’s home and managed to play a song by one of the patient’s favorite bands.

Stories like that were among many shared by the hundred-plus people gathered at the Double Tree Hotel Wednesday evening to honor Brant, the 56-year-old shot and killed Dec. 1 while providing at-home care as a registered nurse.

The soft glow from the electronic candles lit the faces of his friends, family and fellow nurses, who stifled tears and occasionally let out bursts of laughter as speakers shared memories of Brant submitted by other nurses from Providence’s Visiting Nurses Association. Also in attendance were elected representatives and nursing officials.

Speakers at the vigil urged those in attendance to refrain from politics and policy debates about gun violence or workplace violence, and focus instead on the life and work of the late nurse, musician and brother.

“What gives any real meaning to that is if we take the time to reflect on our heroes like Doug,” said David Keepnews, Washington State Nursing Association executive director. “I think that’s really what tonight is about.”

Police say Brant was killed by 33-year-old Mitchell E. Chandler, the grandson of one of his patients who is said to have a history of brain damage and mental illness. He was arrested and remains in jail on a second-degree murder charge.

“I really don’t think a policy change would have changed what happened to Doug,” said Trudy Dant, Brant’s sister and a fellow at-home nurse. “We have to do better with our mentally ill.”

Dant described the attack as an act of random violence.

“Doug would have felt terrible for Mitchell’s grandparents,” Dant said.

Dant shared memories of growing up with her brother in a small house with their mother that was home to a revolving door of people down on their luck. Their mother taught them to always put people first, and he did, she said. He also had his flaws, she said. He struggled with his own mental health issues, confidence and self-esteem, she said.

“He was a gifted soul,” said Lynette Vehrs, Washington State Nursing Association president, who said she knew Brant personally. “You need that in home nursing.”