The people inside the house with accused murderer Steven Brooks when his standoff with law enforcement began last Wednesday, told WAAY 31 Brooks was engaged to their daughter.
In an exclusive interview with WAAY 31 the family said they don't want their identities revealed, because of what happened.
Around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday their daughter noticed Madison County Sheriff's Deputies outside, which was a shock to them.
"She said, 'I don't know, but they're surrounding the house and I think they have guns sort of pointed at the house.' I said, 'well, I think they've got the wrong house. They must mean to go somewhere else, because we haven't had any trouble here,'" said the Matriarch of the family.
She told WAAY 31 her daughter had told them about Brooks's previous run-ins with the law, which included a 1991 conviction for third degree murder.
His rap sheet gave her reservations about him until she met him.
"He seemed to be a nice young man. Very protective of my daughter and there was nothing to fear from him that I ever felt," said the Matriarch.
Marshals and deputies were outside their home because Brooks was wanted for the murder of his landlord, Caroline Morton-Hicks, 59, in Pinellas Park, Fla. Police said Brooks was behind on his rent at the time Hicks was shot and killed in February.
According to the family, Brooks was trying to turn his life around, but certainly had the mentality that he did not plan on going back to prison.
"Just in talking about his prison experience with her he told her, 'I would rather die than to ever go back to prison again,'" said the Matriarch.
The Madison County Sheriff's Office told WAAY 31 Brooks's actions showcased that mentality.
"Steven brooks was a lucky person on that day. A lucky desperate person," said Lt. Donny Shaw.
Lt. Shaw called Brooks lucky, because he was able to get away from the standoff by ramming a U.S. Marshall's car several times; just to get out of the driveway.
He was also able to evade a trained tracking team with dogs after ditching the car, which had caught fire, in a field.
Then he found and stole a truck with a full tank of gas and a full container of gas, which got him to Pennsylvania.
That is where law enforcement caught up with him and killed him after they said he pulled a gun.
"Anytime you have an operation and you have these after action reviews you see something that you could make an improvement in. Don't mean that improvement would have stopped him from fleeing, because again, he was very desperate. There might be something we do in the future that is in addition, or a little different," said Lt. Shaw.
The family still doesn't believe he's capable of killing Hicks, because even if he was evicted he had already planned on staying with them in Harvest.
"I think he, being a black man, thought 'they're going to railroad me into doing this crime, even though I did not do it,' and I feel like he felt like he just didn't have a chance," said the Matriarch.
The family is extremely complementary of how the Madison County Sheriff's Office handled the situation, especially for not damaging their house.
"Cause they could have done that, could of done damage out in the neighborhood to other people's property as well, but I appreciate the fact that they respected our homes and our neighborhood," said the Matriarch.
A big regret the family has is not being able to have Brooks's fiancée talk to him during the several hour long standoff, because they feel she could have talked him out of running.
They were simply following the guidance of the Madison County Sheriff's Office by not calling him.
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