An Alabama man has been charged with murder after he shot dead the man who sexually abused his daughter when she was just seven years old.
The father, whose identity has been withheld to protect his daughter’s privacy, is charged with the murder of Raymond Earl Brooks, a 59-year-old registered sex offender who served just 27 months of his five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to abusing the girl. He was released in 2005.
The father is also reportedly charged with firing at his stepdaughter’s boyfriend near a convenience store just moments before shooting Brooks, though it remains unclear why except that the two had a “heated argument.” Brooks was shot at his parents’ home.
Many have come to the gunman’s defense. More than 1,000 people have joined a Facebook site in support of the dad and are donating to his defense.
Jason Lackey, a longtime friend of the shooter, said “the guy was guilty of raping his little girl, and I guess he dealt with it for 12 years and it just built up. I won’t say [he] had the right to go murder him, but I understand when he did.”
Not everyone agrees though.
Mike Hays, who runs a BBQ joint where the first shooting occurred, said “people are calling him a hero for killing a child molester. I’m calling him a psychopathic lunatic for endangering peoples’ lives, including mine.”
The dad reportedly entered Hays’ store in search of the first intended victim, who was not hurt, but Hays retrieved his own gun and confronted him.
“He had the gun down by his side. He was calm, as calm as you are standing there now. But he had that look in his eye. I have no problem with him shooting a child molester, just not 12 years later. If it was my daughter he would have died back in 2002,” Hays said.
Chief Deputy Mac Bartlett said, “As it stands right now, the defendant committed a murder. We look at it no different, no matter the history of the victim. Mr. Brooks had previously been sentenced and released for his crime. Regardless of any past or pending crimes that he may have committed, this was murder.”