This obituary was republished with permission from the Philadelphia Obituary Project, which honors lives taken by homicide.
A talented athlete, Brandon Dixon grew up playing basketball and football on the west side of Germantown. But the summer after his freshman year, his mother Lisa Dixon moved the family to Plymouth Meeting in Montgomery County over concerns about increasing crime in the city.
Brandon flourished at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. Sports writers mentioned him as a standout varsity basketball player, and credited him as being instrumental in helping the Colonials win the Class AAAA state championship in 2010.
After high school, Brandon attended Manor College in Jenkintown, but only for one semester. He realized college wasn’t for him, so he began working for a roofing company. He became a father in 2017 when his daughter was born.
Lisa, Brandon’s mother, inherited her grandmother’s house in Germantown and returned to the city despite her unease about crime. Brandon, who had remained in Montgomery County, moved back in with Lisa in March of this year after he and his girlfriend broke up.
Two months later, on the afternoon of May 9, 2022, Brandon was pumping gas at the Liberty gas station in the 1000 block of East Mount Airy Avenue when he was ambushed by two shooters, one of which appeared to be firing a semi-automatic rifle. Surveillance video provided by authorities has been widely publicized due to the brazen nature of the attack.
So far, police have made one arrest. The gunmen had just attended a funeral for a friend who had been murdered, and authorities believe they carried out the random attack as retaliation.
“Literally we have individuals riding through neighborhoods in stolen cars looking to kill somebody,” Lisa said. “They were riding around, pulled into the gas station, saw Brandon and recognized him from growing up on the west side.”
Lisa, who works as a head start teacher, is convinced that the people who killed Brandon didn’t receive adequate social and emotional nurturing, and she wants to help make them whole again.
“Through this whole ordeal, all I wanted to do was hug my son,” Lisa said. “I went to the scene of the crime. Could not hug my son. Went to the hospital. Could not hug my son. Went to the morgue. Could not hug my son. So, I want to hug these guys because somewhere, somehow, something is missing in your life to make you do this to someone who has done nothing to you.”
Brandon was born Nov. 19, 1991 in Philadelphia to Lisa and his father, Kenneth Singleton. He was Lisa’s middle child, with an older brother and younger sister.
Brandon was a mama’s boy. His and Lisa’s birthdays are in the same week, and they shared a close relationship. He also bonded with his father over sports. To this day, Kenneth still texts Brandon about games. He also was a teaser, picking on his sister and mother good-naturedly and making them laugh.
It was in elementary school when he took up football and basketball. He played for the Mount Airy Bantams and in 2007 he was given the team’s Longevity Award for his contributions to the team over nine years.
After his high school basketball career was over, Brandon coached youth basketball, which he loved. Brandon also loved fashion and took pride in his appearance.
One of Lisa’s last memories of Brandon was how he took care of her when she was sick in the days leading up to Mother’s Day, which was on May 8 this year. For three days Brandon doted on Lisa, then on Mother’s Day she woke up feeling better.
“He was watching a game, and I said, ‘Babe, you hungry?’” Lisa recalls. “He said he wanted the biggest steak with string beans and mashed potatoes. I made it for him, he ate it and we went to bed, never knowing that the next day would be the last time I would ever see him.”
Lisa is determined to find something positive in Brandon’s death. She wants to take action against the NRA and government leaders for making assault-style weapons so easily available. She also wants to continue being a loving, kind, nurturing figure for her students, who are ages 3 to 5.
“When they say that you can tell now who is going to end up where in life, I can see it,” Lisa said, “and I want to be that person to make a difference.”
After Brandon’s death, his former classmates and coaches from Plymouth Whitemarsh held a vigil and balloon release. Brandon is laid to rest at Chelten Hills Cemetery.
A reward of up to $20,000 if available to anyone that comes forward with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Brandon’s murder. Anonymous calls can be submitted by calling the Citizens Crime Commission at 215-546-TIPS.
No services have been announced.