Rayshard Brooks’ 8-year-old daughter had her birthday dress on Saturday morning waiting for her dad to come pick her up and take her skating to celebrate her birthday, family attorneys say.
Her dad never came home. He was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer at a Wendy’s parking lot in Atlanta Friday night. Since then, the officer who shot Brooks was terminated and a second officer was placed on administrative duty. The Atlanta police chief stepped down from her position.
Brooks, 27, has three daughters who are 1, 2 and 8 years old, according to the attorneys. He also has a 13-year-old stepson, they said.
His oldest daughter was having her birthday party Saturday, Brooks’ family attorney Justin Miller said in a news conference Saturday.
“They had a birthday party for her … with cupcakes,” Miller said. “While we were sitting there talking to her mom about why her dad’s not coming home.”
“We still celebrated,” Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller, told CNN Monday. “It’s what her dad would have wanted.”
A day earlier, the young girl had enjoyed other celebrations with her father. Brooks took her to get her nails done, Miller said, and then they went and ate together.
The two had also spent time at an arcade Friday, family attorney L. Chris Stewart said.
“We sat with (Brooks’ children) today and watched them play and laugh and be oblivious to the facts that their dad was murdered on camera,” Stewart said in the news conference.
“A scene that we keep repeating as we watched Gianna Floyd play in Houston, oblivious to that her dad was knelt on and murdered. How many more examples will there be?”
A loving father
Tomika Miller told the children their father wouldn’t be coming home, and that “he’s in a better place,” trying to keep it positive and keep her tears to herself, she said.
She described a loving and devoted husband and father who couldn’t deny his children anything, especially the girls.
“They got him wrapped around their fingers,” Tomika Miller said.
The couple’s relationship, she said, was a “friendship no one could break.”
Brooks “always kept my spirits up,” Tomika Miller said. “He always pushed me to be better,” helping her develop mentally, spiritually and emotionally, she said.
‘Brothers and sisters that love him more than life’
Stewart says Brooks worked at “a tortilla place” and was extremely loved by family.
“We have more family members at that house today than I could count,” the attorney said. “A ton of brothers and sisters that love him more than life.”
One of Brooks’ older cousins, Decatur Redd, spoke to reporters Saturday and said he never expected he would have a similar situation land so close to home.
“I don’t know how to do this because I never knew that I was going to have to do this,” a visibly distraught Redd told the crowd.
Redd said he has seen videos of Friday night’s shooting that have been circulating on social media. It was the worst thing he could wake up to, knowing Brooks’ whole family watched those same moments.
“We’ve been watching this happen for so many years, with young black boys around the country just dying in vain – I just don’t want that to continue and keep happening like that,” Redd said.
“I didn’t think it would hit right here, man. I thought this city was better than that. They’ve got to answer. Somebody’s gotta say something,” Redd said, “We need to at least know that the city is with us.”
When seeing something like George Floyd’s death, the black man who died during an arrest in Minneapolis, Brooks would cry, his wife said.
“Even though he looks tough, he was a big cry baby,” Tomika Miller said.
“I just don’t understand why it’s this way. What if that was me,” or our son, Brooks would say, according to Tomika Miller.
What happened outside an Atlanta Wendy’s
Officers were responding to a call Friday night about a man sleeping in a vehicle at the Wendy’s drive-thru, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. When officers arrived, they gave Brooks a sobriety test, which he failed. The agency said Brooks resisted arrest and struggled for an officer’s Taser, which he got ahold of.
CNN obtained two videos that seemed to show the man’s last moments.
In a surveillance video released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Brooks is seen running away from officers and seems to point a stun gun back before he is shot.
A second video, shot by an eyewitness, shows two officers struggling with Brooks. He breaks free and starts running with what appears to be a stun gun in his right hand. It appears one of the officers fires their stun gun at Brooks three times as he runs away. Three shots are heard out of frame shortly afterward.
The GBI said Brooks was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the status of one of the officers involved in Rayshard Brooks' death. The officer has been placed on administrative duty.
CNN’s Natasha Chen, Maria Cartaya, Theresa Waldrop and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.