TERRELL (CBSDFW.COM) – The emotion is still raw and a community remains stunned. That is what’s left after a violent and fiery killing spree in Terrell. The end result — five people dead and one man charged and in custody.
Tuesday night a community mourned and leaned on each other for support. There were lots of tears and prayers as people tried to understand what happened.
As it stands Charles Brownlow Jr. is under arrest. He is charged with one count of capital murder but is expected to face more charges. Police say Brownlow killed a total of five people — including his mother and aunt.
Just before midnight Wednesday, CBS 11 News was the only station there as Brownlow was transferred from the Terrell Jail to the city’s community center about a block away. A police officer told us that criminal investigation division detectives have set up shop at the community center for the investigation. He was taken back to the jail a short time later.
Still the big question police and residents are trying to answer is — why?
At a vigil for the victims Tuesday night Silvia Sanchez arrived surrounded by family and friends. She clutched a picture of her baby boy and his father, her fiancé, Luis Leal Carillo.
Leal Carrillo worked at Ali’s Market, where Sanchez said he pulled long hours to support their son. It was there, Terrell police say, Brownlow shot and killed the 22-year-old father.
Ali’s Market storeowner Ali Karimi said, “My heart is broken. My heart is broke for that young man. I loved him.”
The series of murders began around 5:00 p.m. Monday, when police found Brownlow’s aunt, Belinda Walker, shot to death in her home. A firefighter headed to the scene spotted Brownlow’s own home on fire several blocks away. It was there his mother, Mary Brownlow, was found dead inside. Police believe Brownlow shot his mother and set the fire.
Family members say Charles Brownlow had recently begun using drugs. “I don’t think there’s enough drugs in the world that could make me do that. I can’t use drugs as an excuse [for what he did,]” said the suspect’s brother, Terrence Walker.
It was around 10:30 p.m. Monday night when police found two of Brownlow’s acquaintances, Jason Wooden and Kelleye Sluder, shot to death in their home. The couple’s 3-year-old child was safe in bed.
Speaking of the couple a friend said, “It’s not fair. They didn’t deserve it.”
Minutes later an off-duty officer spotted Brownlow at Ali’s Market. Police chased and eventually arrested him.
While the 36-year-old suspect remains behind bars the town remains in grief.
Police say they have several theories about Brownlow’s motive for the murders, but did not share them with CBS 11 News. Officials did say Brownlow appeared to be intoxicated or on drugs at the time of his arrest.
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