TERRELL, Texas – A man suspected of killing his mother and four other people during a quick series of attacks in his rural North Texas community struggles with drug addiction, his brother said Tuesday.
Terrence Walker told The Associated Press that his brother, 36-year-old Charles Everett Brownlow Jr., lived at their mother's home in Terrell. He said his brother "always wanted to take something that wasn't his," and that their mother, Mary Brownlow, always put up with it.
"I was hoping my mom would open her eyes and realize that she needed to let him grow up, put him out," said Walker, who said an aunt was among the other victims. Walker said his own family spent the night at a hotel instead of their home in Forney, and that he was armed with a pistol in case his brother came after him.
Police haven't disclosed the preliminary charges against Brownlow, who was arrested early Tuesday following a high-speed chase. But they have said he is suspected of killing all five people. Prosecutors referred questions to police, saying they weren't involved in the case yet.
"We're all in a state of shock," police Chief Jody Law said at a news conference. "You have a tendency to think, 'How can that happen here?' This is a country community, a rural community, people are real close. This is going to be, it's going to have a really big impact on us."
Lay didn't release the victims' names or discuss a possible motive for the attacks, which began around 5 p.m. Monday when a woman was gunned down at a Terrell home.
About 30 minutes later, fire units responded to the blaze at Mary Brownlow's house a few blocks away. When the fire was extinguished, crews found a woman's body in the smoldering wreckage. Lay said it was clearly arson.
At about 10:30 p.m., police responding to a report of a shooting elsewhere in Terrell found the bodies of a man and a woman who had been shot at a home and a 3-year-old boy who wasn't harmed. The child was released to relatives, Lay said.
At this point a description of the stolen vehicle the suspect was believed to be driving was released to officers and, just minutes later, an off-duty police officer saw that vehicle parked outside the convenience store. As the officer called in the sighting, the suspect ran from the store, jumped in the vehicle and sped away, Lay said.
A high-speed police chase ensued. The suspect wrecked the car and took off on foot into thick woods, dropping a holster or handgun on the way, the chief said.
A police helicopter and dogs were summoned to assist in the manhunt, and the suspect was found hiding in a creek.
The fifth victim, a male clerk, was found slain at the store.
The store's owner, Ali Karimi, said the slain clerk was a model employee and "beautiful young man" who leaves behind a 1-year-old son.
"We're still in the process of putting this massive investigation together," Lay said. "We're still making sure that surviving family members are appropriately notified."