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‘Drop the gun!’: Video shows police shooting man tied to 3 women’s deaths

Updated March 19, 2024 - 7:22 pm

North Las Vegas police released body-worn camera footage Monday that shows officers shooting a gun-wielding man before officers discovered the bodies of three women and a dog who had been shot to death in two nearby apartments.

The footage shows two officers, Kenneth Townsley and Kevin Calderon, firing their weapons at a man who was later identified as Edward Brooks, 43, of North Las Vegas, officer Brian Thomas said in a video briefing released by the North Las Vegas Police Department on Monday afternoon.

Brooks, who died in the March 13 police shooting, would’ve been charged with three counts of open murder with a deadly weapon in connection with the women’s deaths, as well as other charges, Thomas said. But it wasn’t Brooks’ first time being charged with murder.

In 2018, he was arrested in San Diego in connection with a killing that had happened nearly two decades earlier, Thomas said Tuesday.

“It occurred in 2000. He was arrested in 2018 and this had occurred out in San Diego,” Thomas said.

San Diego media outlets reported that Brooks had been accused of beating a 71-year-old man to death with a baseball bat in an alley.

According to the reports, Brooks went to trial twice and both times the trials ended with hung juries. After the second hung jury, a judge dismissed the murder charge against Brooks, Fox 5 San Diego reported.

In North Las Vegas last week, Townsley fired six shots from his department-issued rifle and Calderon fired two shots from his department-issued handgun, Thomas said.

Brooks, who died, would’ve been charged with three counts of open murder with a deadly weapon in connection with the women’s deaths, as well as other charges, Thomas said.

The women were later identified by the Clark County coroner’s office as Africa Woods-McGill, 52, Venus Hart, 48, and Tiffany Mawhorter, 42, who had all been fatally shot. The coroner determined their deaths were homicides.

An online fundraiser created by Hart’s family described her as a “wonderful parent” and “doting grandmother.”

Hart adopted Annalissa King when King was 14.

“My mother, affectionately known as Bella Bleu, was a pillar of love, kindness, and generosity in our community,” King wrote on the crowdfunding site. “She was always there to offer support and guidance to those in need, and her loss has left a significant void in our lives. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.”

Now 31, King said Hart was visiting her friends Woods-McGill and Mawhorter when she was shot. Hart is survived by two biological daughters, King, and four grandchildren.

Hart’s 1-year-old granddaughter was with Hart when Hart was shot, according to King, who said the family believes Hart gave her life to protect the child.

North Las Vegas police confirmed Tuesday that a young child was found unharmed in one of the apartments.

Hart described her mom as outgoing, lovable and a beautiful person.

“She was always a helping hand,” King said.

It wasn’t clear what led to the women’s deaths. Thomas said in the video that Brooks didn’t appear to have had a domestic relationship with any of the women who were killed.

“Detectives continue to investigate the circumstances of the case and at this time believe the suspect was staying in one of the apartments,” Thomas said. “There does not appear to be a domestic relationship between the suspect and any of the women.”

The motive was still under investigation, Thomas said.

Police believe Brooks knew one of the victims from prior interactions, Thomas said, but the nature of those interactions wasn’t yet known. Police were still trying to determine why the killings happened.

“That is unfortunately not known as this time,” Thomas said.

Police shot Brooks after responding to 911 calls of shots fired at about 3:15 p.m. on March 12 at the 3 Keys apartment complex at 2215 E. Nelson Ave., near Las Vegas Boulevard North and East Carey Avenue.

‘Last warning, drop the gun’

“When officers arrived at the scene, they encountered a man armed with a gun walking toward them from the apartment where gunfire was reported,” Thomas said in the video. “Officers ordered the suspect multiple times to drop the gun, but he ignored their commands and continued to advance toward them.”

The video shows Townsley shouting at Brooks to “Drop the gun, man!” and “Drop the damn gun!” as Brooks is seen walking slowly towards officers.

Townsley keeps shouting at Brooks, telling Brooks he doesn’t want to hurt him.

“Last warning, drop the gun. You’re gonna get shot! You’re gonna get shot,” Townsley shouts, the video shows.

Townsley then opens fire.

Calderon’s body-worn camera video shows him approaching the scene and firing two shots from his handgun.

Both officers’ footage shows Brooks falling to the ground after he was shot.

The footage then shows officers walking to where Brooks had fallen.

“Get the gun away,” an officer says to the first officer to reach Brooks. The officer closest to Brooks appears to pick something up and moves it away from Brooks.

It’s difficult to see clearly what police said was Brooks’ gun in the body-camera footage. Police said they recovered a Bersa Thunder 380 handgun from Brooks and released a photo of what they said was Brooks’ weapon.

“As soon as the suspect was disarmed and his weapon secured, officers began searching adjacent apartments for any potential victims related to the 911 call of shots fired,” Thomas said.

That’s when officers found the women and the dog in two separate apartments. A young child was found unharmed in one of the apartments, Thomas said.

Police also released audio of a 911 call from the incident. In one call, a woman said she heard six shots. Police said a sound in the background of the call was a gunshot.

“I need someone to come to these apartments. Someone is shooting in apartment 4,” the caller says.

In the days following the shooting, residents at the complex spoke of the heartbreak and fear sparked by the incident.

Besides the murder case, Thomas said Brooks had an extensive criminal history that also included attempted murder, robbery, burglary, rape and narcotics charges, as well as other offenses.

Townsley and Calderon were put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Thomas said.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact North Las Vegas police at 702-633-9111, he said.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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