James Henry Brooks became the sixth person arrested in the wake of the horrific shooting of a 13-month old baby on a Beaumont, Georgia street.
As Digital Journal reported last week, 41-year-old Sherry West was pushing her infant son, Antonio Santiago, in a stroller down a street in Brunswick, Georgia on the morning of March 21 when she was approached by two teens who demanded money. The older teen kept asking for money and West kept saying she didn't have any.
The youth then asked,"Do you want me to kill your baby?" He then pulled out a gun and after firing a shot into the ground, he shot West twice, causing only minor injuries. The teen then walked up to the stroller, pointed the gun at Antonio's face, and fired.
After an intensive manhunt, police arrested De' Marquis Elkins, 17 and a 15-year-old boy, later identified as Dominique Lang. Both boys were charged with first-degree murder.
Brooks, 59, was arrested on Thursday and faces charges of obstructing law enforcement officers and influencing a witness. As of Friday night, he remained in jail as no bond had yet been set on the latter charge. The events leading up to the charges took place at a Brunswick courthouse on Monday when Elkins and Lang were making an appearance.
It is alleged when officers attempted to speak with Elkins' mother, Brooks prevented them from doing so by stepping in between them. After he was arrested, Alan David Tucker, Brooks' attorney, issued a statement saying, "It was [Brooks] honest belief at the time he was trying to protect the rights of his constituents by advising them to remain silent and not make any additional statements to the police without having a lawyer present. Unfortunately, he learned later that the Elkins were not being truthful with the police when they made statements about Mr. Elkins' whereabouts during the time of the shooting."
Elkins' mother, Karimah Elkins, 36, his sister, Sabrina Elkins, 19, and his aunt, Katrina Elkins, 33, were also arrested earlier in the week and and charged with making false statements. Although police are not divulging exactly what those statements were, the family told several media outlets De' Marquis could not have done the shooting because he was with them.
Karimah has also been charged with tampering with evidence after it was alleged she disposed of the murder weapon. After her arrest, she gave additional statements to police that led them to a saltwater pond where they recovered a handgun. The gun is currently being examined by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
As Kamirah also has a criminal record, she faces an additional charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The Florida Times-Union reports that on Thursday, Brooks was indicted on unrelated racketeering charges in a neighbouring county. He is alleged to have taken money in exchange for getting people jobs with the police, permits, and liquor licenses.