- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 14, 2003

The grief is numbing for Bill and Carol Malstrom. Numb best describes how it feels having had their 20-year-old son ripped from their lives two months ago when he was stabbed to death in College Park.
"It seems like you move in a fog, and you move very slow," said Mrs. Malstrom of Phoenix, Md.
Brandon James Malstrom, a University of Maryland junior, was celebrating on the morning of Nov. 10 after his school won its homecoming football game when a group of drunken young men, looking for trouble, found him.
Outside a house party in the off-campus Old Town residential area, young Malstrom was jumped and held in a headlock, then stabbed with a knife that pierced his aorta causing massive internal damage and bleeding. He died hours later at Prince George's Hospital Center.
Prince George's County police have arrested two men, John R. Schlamp, 24, of Columbia, Md., and Quan L. Davis, 23, of Hanover, Md., and charged them with the murder. Neither of the men is a Maryland student. Mr. Schlamp was indicted on Dec. 26, and Mr. Davis's preliminary hearing is on Jan. 30.
The Malstroms said in an interview at their home with The Washington Times that the death of their son was a devastating blow. Only two months since the stabbing, their grief is still palpable.
"It's difficult not to get caught up in the grief, and stop what you're doing and just mourn," said Mr. Malstrom, 53, adding that time has begun to heal his wounds.
"I find I have more days where I can think about Brandon and not just break down and cry," Mr. Malstrom said. "I mean, that's got to come eventually," he half-stated, half-asked as he looked at his wife.
"Not to me. It seems the days are still the same," Mrs. Malstrom said. She and her husband struggled to maintain their composure as they spoke about the youngest of their two sons.
Mr. and Mrs. Malstrom were awakened by a cell-phone call on Nov. 10 from their 24-year-old son, whom they asked not be named, who was with Brandon when he was attacked. Their son said Brandon had been stabbed, but "he thought he was going to be OK. He was awake," Mr. Malstrom said.
About an hour later, as the Malstroms were driving toward College Park on Interstate 95, Mr. Malstrom's cell phone rang, and his son's voice "was a lot more bleak. He said, 'He's in surgery, and you guys need to get here.'"
Brandon died around 7 a.m. Brandon's older brother "lost his brother and lost his best friend," said Mrs. Malstrom. "They absolutely loved spending time together."
Brandon's girlfriend of six years, Gina Cox, is "having a tough time, too. It breaks your heart," Mr. Malstrom said. He displayed a picture of Brandon and Gina from 1995, as high school freshmen at Dulaney High.
His parents described Brandon as an independent, athletic, reserved but friendly young man with a wry sense of humor who "never expected a lot or made a lot of demands," and "had a gift for being just as comfortable in a room of adults as with people his own age."
He "seemed to constantly stay connected to the family"; he was passionate about lacrosse, skateboarding and music; and over the summer he was accepted to Maryland's nationally ranked Robert H. Smith School of Business.
"He was going to find his way. There's no telling what was in store for Brandon. The older he got, the more I realized how bright he was," said Mr. Malstrom.
The couple has tried to come to grips with their tragedy by staying busy at work and supporting each other. Mr. Malstrom has begun to take a more active role in helping authorities make sure all witnesses have shared information with police. He also is helping organize a fund-raiser for the Brandon James Malstrom Scholarship Fund on Feb. 15.
But the couple can only do so much. "We just do what we can. Sometimes we feel like we can do more than other days, and some days we feel like we can't do much at all," Mr. Malstrom said.
"The whole thing is so insane, for those guys to take his life for absolutely no reason. Nothing was accomplished," he said. "There's no sense to it, absolutely no sense. It's hard to get a grip on that part of it."
The night to remember Brandon will begin around 8:30 with a candlelight vigil on Dickinson Avenue, where the stabbing occurred, followed by a march to the university administration building and a concert at the Santa Fe Cafe to benefit the scholarship fund.


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