14-Year-Old Boy Calls 911 After Father Shoots Mother: Murder Suicide
Tragedy struck one summer afternoon in the rural town of Geneva, a town north of Oviedo, Florida. Outside of their 4,000 square foot house on Barr Street, 44-year-old Darryl Brooks shot his 45-year-old wife, Peggy Brooks, in the leg during an argument. Having seen this happen, their 14-year-old son retreated from the front yard where the shooting happened to the back yard with his dog and called police. Unfortunately, Darryl Brooks killed his wife and himself before authorities could get there.
On June 5th, 2008, the day seemed to start off normal for Darryl Brooks. Darryl worked from 7a.m. until the early afternoon with his business partner at his lawn company. His business partner’s wife stated that on June 5th, Darryl acted his normal self, and nothing was amiss. After returning home from work, a neighbor reported that Darryl was playing drums.
At some point before 4 p.m. Darryl and Peggy Brooks got into an argument which resulted in Peggy Brooks getting shot in the leg in the couple’s front yard. Josh Brooks, Darryl and Peggy’s 14-year-old son witnessed the shooting and hurried to the back yard with his dog and a telephone which he used to phone police but hung up. When dispatchers called back, Josh answered. A transcription of the 911 call as well as a video with the audio from the call can be found here.
During the emergency call, Josh Brooks told dispatchers from the Seminole County Sherriff’s Department and the local fire department that his dad had just shot his mom. Having seen his mother bleeding from her right leg, Josh relayed information to the authorities clearly and concisely, managing to keep his composure during the first half of the call.
At the onset of the call, Josh did not know where his father was but believed he still had the gun and had not left in any of the family’s vehicles. Towards the middle of the call, after asking if his mother was breathing and him answering that he did not know, he can be heard telling his mom that he’s on the phone, presumably approaching to see if she is breathing. Seconds later he tells the fire rescue dispatcher that he cannot go near his mother to try to help because his father is surrounding his mother and pacing, in response to if he could try to control the bleeding from her leg.
After being advised to not go to a neighbor’s house like he asked so that he would not be spotted by his father and put himself in danger, the panicked but collected teenager turned to despair and began weeping and hyperventilating, holding his dog that can be heard panting. He then announced that he heard two more shots. These two shots were Darryl Brooks murdering his wife before turning the gun on himself.
Josh Brooks took cover behind a shed in his yard, a few feet from his garage. Recollecting the incident, Josh Brooks said that he was “shaking uncontrollably, crying, barely able to take a regular breath”. When authorities were making their way up the driveway and fence line between the property and the neighbor’s property, Josh Brooks was informed by the dispatchers to run to the fence when told to. As he ran towards the safety of the fence, an officer began shouting “get down, get down, on the ground, on the ground”. Within seconds, Josh Brooks was identified and helped get to safety. Authorities found the bodies of Peggy and Darryl Brooks were found 15 feet from one another, with the gun near Darryl’s body. Authorities spent the night of the 5th searching the house for evidence that would explain what transpired that afternoon, but no such evidence was found. By all accounts, Darryl and Peggy were likeable people in a loving 22-year long relationship. Only one call to emergency services was ever made to the house prior to the murder-suicide, and that call was not related to any type of domestic dispute. None of their friends or family reported domestic violence either, with Josh apparently stating that his parents rarely fought.
Peggy Brooks, 45 years old at the time of her death, mostly kept to herself according to neighbors. She was very busy and often worked long hours at a local hospital but was reported to be a lovely person. Darryl Brooks, on the other hand, was outgoing and friendly and loved to talk to anyone who would listen according to his friend and neighbor Doug O’Brien who remembered jokingly calling him “yakker” because of this trait. Doug stated that the couple seemed happy, never got into fights, and that the suicide murder was “totally out of character”. Another neighbor, Russell Moule, said that he was good friends with Darryl and that he was a good man who was always helpful. Additionally, the wife of Darryl’s business partner who he had been working with the day of the incident said that Darryl was “a sweetheart”, “was never a violent person”, and that her and her husband have no idea “why it happened or what happened or what set him off”.