Brown was taken into custody, but not before a small angry mob caught word and approached the house demanding that he be brought over to them. The police were able to transport Brown safely to the courthouse, but only for a moment. On September 28, 1919, the small mob grew into thousands who marched downtown Omaha in attempts to seize Brown. The crowd's rowdiness escalated out of control as they fired upon the courthouse as well as set it on fire. Mayor Smith attempted to ease the crowd, yet only to his demise as he was tortured at the hands of the crowd. Mayor Smith, who was beaten over the head and hung by a lamppost, was soon rescued.
Like Smith, Brown ended up in the hands of the angry mob. Yet there was no cavalry for his pleas. He was beaten unconscious, dragged to a nearby lamppost and hung by his neck. While hung, Brown was shot at several times. Brown was then taken down, tied to the back of a car and dragged to the intersection of 17th and Dodge (the address posted). Finally, Brown's body was burned severely.
Brown maintained his innocence through the last few moments of his life.
Will Brown's death is considered one of the largest spectacles of violence directed towards an individual in the United States. After enduring brutal torture, Brown died at this location and observers posed for pictures next to his burning corpse.