Family

Child Murder Witness: ‘Ninjas Killed My Family’

Double slaying in Alaska is latest in a line of horrors that an increasing number of our kids must endure

In a violent society, children are having to endure and be exposed to traumas that no one should ever have to experience, causing symptoms that last for years — well beyond the event itself. While the public may grow immune to reports of violence, the “littlest victims” suffer endlessly.

Imagine witnessing “ninjas” killing two people in front of your eyes — on Christmas Eve.

The damage done to a child who witnesses violence is lasting.

It happened in Alaska. Instead of happily preparing for Santa’s arrival, a six-year-old in an Anchorage home witnessed the shootings of two adults — and later told police, “Ninjas came to my home and killed my family.”

(Police did not release the exact relationship between the child and the murdered couple, according to CBSnews.com.)

This is a horror-movie scenario come to life — especially for that child. Symptoms after witnessing such a traumatic event can include long-term sleep difficulties; headaches; stomachaches; hypervigilance; aggressive behavior; nightmares and a host of other symptoms, according to the Child Witness to Violence Project’s website.

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What should have been a memorable day went terribly wrong in Anchorage. During a late-afternoon home invasion on Dec. 24, according to police, Lamarkus Jayqwann Mann, 22, shot and killed Danielle Brooks, 32. Christopher Brooks, 38, struggled with Mann over the gun and the weapon fired again, striking Brooks and one of Mann’s accomplices, Anthony Malik Harris, as CBSnews.com reported.

The three men entered the Brooks home, accomplice Jaylin Franklin later said in an affidavit after his arrest, and he and Harris stayed in the living room with Danielle Brooks while Mann took Christopher Brooks into a bedroom. When the two emerged, Mann “began demanding drugs and money,” the document states. Franklin told APD that Christopher Brooks pleaded with Mann to take what he wanted, according to local CBS affiliate KTVA.

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Lamarkus Jayqwann Mann, the suspect in the Anchorage murders (photo: Anchorage P.D.)

Mann was one of three people involved in the slaying of Danielle and Christopher Brooks, according to the Anchorage Police Department.

Brooks was able to walk outside the home after being shot, where he collapsed. He later died at an Anchorage hospital.

The suspects fled in a car except for Harris, who later appeared at an area hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg.

The best reason to improve our society is our nation’s kids. There are too many violent adults in the U.S. who commit murder and mayhem.

Police on Monday announced Mann was at large, armed and dangerous. Anonymous tips then led them Tuesday morning to the Lakefront Motel near Spenard Lake, said CBSnews.com. Authorities surrounded one of the guest rooms, and ordered those inside to come out. Mann and another person emerged and surrendered.

Accomplices Jaylyn Franklin and Anthony Malik Harris are both charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, and two counts of second-degree murder, KTVA reported. Mann faces the same charges, but he has not been arraigned. Franklin also is charged with evidence tampering.

Police believe Mann, Franklin, and Harris knew Christopher Brooks and went to the couple’s home in northeast Anchorage to rob them.

The damage done to a child who witnesses violence is lasting — and it can start very young. An example from a real case of separation anxiety after trauma is shared by Child Witness to Violence Project: “Somnang was just 10 months old when she saw her mother pushed down the stairs by a relative. For several weeks after the incident, Somnang would wail for long periods of time after her mother brought her to day care, even though she knew the providers and used to separate easily.”

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The best reason to improve our society is our nation’s kids. There are too many violent adults in the U.S. who commit murder and mayhem — leaving behind “collateral damage” in the form of young lives ruined.

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