Though family members were not yet prepared to speak openly about their loss, the Rev. Frederick Durant spoke out, calling Brooks' death senseless. Durant, co-founder of the local Stop the Violence campaign, is also the pastor of Sunlight Missionary Baptist Church in Eastaboga, where Brooks' mother is a member. He said Monday that Brooks had a 1-year-old son, making the situation even sadder.
Brooks died while gathered with friends, watching the Minnesota Vikings play the New Orleans Saints for a berth in the Super Bowl, police said. At about 6:45 p.m., the group's good time came to an abrupt end.
Someone fired shots into the door of the apartment in the 1400 block of Brown Avenue, striking Karl Malbrough, 25, of Anniston, once in the arm, police said. Malbrough reportedly pretended to be dead when two masked men entered the house, one allegedly armed with a rifle.
The men then allegedly shot Brooks, who was sitting down, in the head. He later was pronounced dead at the scene, Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown said.
Police said there were at least two other people with Brooks and Malbrough in the apartment, probably more. The suspects allegedly chased the others to the back of the apartment and left a few minutes later. No one else was injured, police said.
At some point in the commotion, the suspects took $400 from Malbrough, who remained motionless on the floor, according to police reports. He later was treated for the gunshot wound and released from Stringfellow Memorial Hospital, Anniston police said Monday.
Witnesses said the suspects fired three to five shots total. Police found evidence of at least three rifle shell casings.
It is not known why the men targeted Brooks when they entered the house, police Capt. Richard Smith said. Neither Brooks nor Malbrough lived at the home where they were shot, police said, but the group of friends regularly hangs out there.
According to court records available online, Brooks had only minor brushes with the law in his adult life. A grand jury in 2007 decided there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute him on charges of carrying a pistol without a permit and possessing drug paraphernalia stemming from an arrest earlier that year.
"He was a nice young man, very respectable," Durant said. "I never knew it if he had any problems, and never knew him to be violent."
Durant and Stop the Violence co-founder Jeffrey Williams are going back to the drawing board to figure out how to help the community deal with Brooks' death.
"We're going to sit down and try to come up with how to combat this," Durant said. "We hope that there won't be any retaliation, and we want to try to get the word out that this isn't the way you solve anything."
He said he's heard rumors of what led to the shooting but has not verified them yet. But Durant believes it stems from a previous conflict.
"Usually these kinds of things don't just happen; it's an ongoing thing," he said.
Durant said he hopes the community pulls together to prevent these kinds of things from happening in the future.
"It's a sad and tragic situation. I pray that something positive can come out of it," he said. "It's sad we don't have conflict resolution, or that our children haven't been taught how to deal with conflict other than violence. Our own city council can't resolve their conflicts. What kind of message does that send to our young people?"
Getting to the root of the matter is the next step for both police and Stop the Violence.
"The first thing is to get the true facts," Durant said. "There are so many rumors and things right now, but if we don't have the facts, we won't know how to address the situation."
Investigators have leads in the case but were not ready to make them public Monday. Brooks' death is the first Calhoun County homicide in 2010.