by Shawn Nottingham, CNN
The man killed in a Memorial Day parade in suburban Milwaukee was fatally shot during a fight, and homicide detectives are investigating whether it was a criminal act or a case of self-defense, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.
Darrell Brooks’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against four other men with whom he was involved in the altercation, accusing them of fatally shooting Brooks during a physical altercation.
But deputy city attorney Ali Atwater said Friday there is no criminal wrongdoing on the part of the men Brooks identified, and there was no evidence of a terrorist act.
“Darrell Brooks was unlawfully and unprovoked attacked by unknown individuals,” Atwater said. “Following the attack, Brooks was able to defend himself and subsequently suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest.”
Attorneys for Brooks’ family called for the release of surveillance footage.
“Obviously we’re still analyzing the video, but we will share with you what we see that supports the last statement and puts a fuller picture of what happened,” attorney Perry Lord said.
Brooks’ family said the four men had been drinking and cussing and Brooks, 44, was trying to keep them from getting into cars. The mother of one of the men’s children accused Brooks of grabbing her son’s neck.
“I jumped in front of him,” Shanesha Smith, 49, told CNN affiliate WTMJ . “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
After Brooks fell to the ground, and again when others, including her son, wrapped Brooks in towels, he was shot, Smith said.
Brenden Giese said Brooks pulled a knife on him before he pushed him in self-defense.
“My gun went off when I was stepping toward my cousin,” Giese said. “Then he fell, and I went over to him and started trying to do CPR and he was kinda drooling, bleeding. I was like, ‘Hey, it was self-defense.’”
CNN has reached out to Brooks’ family and the four men named in the lawsuit for comment.
The lawsuit said the fight happened in the parking lot of Froedtert Hospital after Brooks ran out of the hospital’s waiting room with his wife and children.
The allegations against the other four men are being investigated by homicide detectives.
No motive has been established for the altercation, and no charges have been filed against Brooks’ family, Lord said.
Memorial Day police said the incident was not a terrorist attack.
Sheriff’s officials said the incident started when an intoxicated woman began arguing with people leaving the hospital.