When police responded to a disturbance at an apartment in Anchorage, Alaska, they discovered a heartbreaking sight: A 6-year-old boy was wandering around the parking lot, alone.
“Ninjas came to my home and killed my family,” he told investigators.
The body of Christopher Brooks, 38, was found in a bloodstained snowbank nearby. He’d been shot multiple times in the head and body. His 32-year-old wife, Danielle Brooks, was found dead inside the home. Police say she was covered with so much blood that they couldn’t initially tell how she had died.
Upstairs neighbors told officers that they had heard the gunshots, but originally thought that they were fireworks.
The little boy — who is Danielle’s son and Christopher’s stepson — was unharmed.
A Calculated Crime
Police soon arrested 20-year-old Jaylyn Franklin and accused him of being an accomplice to the killings. Authorities later arrested Lamarkus Mann and Deanthony Harris for their alleged roles in the crime. Mann was the one who pulled the trigger, police allege.
According to an affidavit filed in Anchorage District Court on Christmas Day, Franklin explained to investigators what he claims happened during the Christmas Eve double homicide.
Franklin said the three men, dressed all in black, were driven to the location by a fourth, unidentified man, according to the affidavit. They allegedly burst into the Brooks’ apartment and demanded “drugs and money.”
According to Franklin, Chris Brooks pleaded with one of the men to “take what he wanted” while Danielle Brooks screamed from the couch, “Oh my God, oh my God.” The men allegedly told the boy to go into his bedroom and stay there.
Then, according to Franklin, Brooks and Mann allegedly began “wrestling” for the gun. Eventually, Mann shot Brooks several times, the affidavit alleges. Franklin told police that Mann then allegedly shot Danielle from about five feet away. He agreed with the police interviewer that she was shot “because she was a witness.”
The men then allegedly fled the apartment.
All three men have been charged with first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree murder. Anchorage District Attorney Clint Campion tells KTUU that the charges could be upgraded to first-degree murder as more information emerges.
None of the men have entered a plea, and it is unclear whether they are represented by counsel. They remain in custody. The fourth man has not been arrested.
A Mourning Family
The sudden slayings have stunned those close to Chris and Danielle.
“Danielle was a very beautiful person who we love very much,” her father, Kyle Maze, wrote on Facebook. “We have always supported and been proud of her determination and hard work to better herself and provide a good life for her son. He was everything to her.”
Terese Goodman, a family friend, tells PEOPLE that the killings have shattered those close to Danielle. “She loved to laugh. She was quick with a joke,” Goodman says. “But she was also so kind. She would give you the shirt off her back. She had a heart for people who were less fortunate.
“Everyone is so devastated. I don’t know if we’ll ever get over it.
Danielle’s son is now reportedly in the care of relatives.
“People are going to grab onto the drug aspect, which is too bad,”one family member told PEOPLE. “ wasn’t into drugs. She was a mom who loved her husband and son very much. It’s such a loss.”