CARTER CO., OK (TNN) - Law enforcement in Carter County are nearing a conclusion to a 25-year-old unsolved murder out of Tatums. Tino Brooks was gunned down on May 8, 1994 and his family is still seeking answers.
“He was killed on Mother’s Day," said Tino’s mother, Lois.
Tino and his brother Corey said goodbye to their mother Lois and headed 30 minutes down the road to Tatums to the Family Barbecue Social Club. Gunshots rang out at the club early that morning, a shot striking Tino in the stomach. Lois and her husband received the phone call.
“It was a collect call, 1994," she said. "I said, ‘Is he alive?,’ She said, ‘I think so, but I’m not sure.’”
They rushed to the hospital and spoke with the doctor who told them Tino had died, but it was a miracle he made it as long as he did. It was because of his older brother.
“My oldest son Corey kept him alive by sucking the blood out of his mouth, spitting it in the floor board and breathing into his mouth from Tatums to Healdton, Oklahoma," Lois said.
The Carter County Sheriff’s Office took over the investigation. Sheriff Chris Bryant says the shooting started with an argument.
“Parties got sideways and altercation occurred and someone was unfortunately shot," the Sheriff said.
Tino left behind an entire community and two brothers. The youngest, Xavier was only six-years-old.
“I come out here and sit on this bench that’s dedicated to him," Xavier said. "I sit here for hours and just talk. Nobody answers, but in my heart I hear it. So, we talk all the time, every day.”
Tino also left behind a three-year-old son, Brandon Williams.
“The stories I hear is that he was with me all the time, that makes me happy to think about that," said Brandon.
Tino was an athlete, competing in every sport at Duncan High School. But possibly something that stood out even more was his popularity with the women.
“Tino was a cute guy," his mother said. "When he was born, he was born pretty. He was just a pretty boy.”
Lois says her son was a lover, slow to anger. And Tino loved to pull pranks, and make people laugh. 25 years ago he was taken from her, changing her world completely.
“Every morning I wake up, he’s the first thing I think of," said Lois. "Every night when I go to bed, he’s the last thing I think of. The pain, you get used to it, but it never goes away.”
But now, there may be a break in the case. The Carter County Sheriff’s Office says a few weeks ago, a witness came forward with information, but the Sheriff says it still has to be validated and checked against the timeline. We were given limited details, but a piece of the puzzle that they need to learn, is how many guns were used that night.
“What kind of caliber gun was used," said Sheriff Bryant. "That is a stumbling block because there is being said there were multiple calibers around.”
He says not knowing what type of gun was used, along with a lack of cooperation from witnesses is proving to be difficult.
“The individuals that we’re looking for that are saying they’ll cooperate that have not talked to us, tracking them down and trying to go different avenues in finding out why they won’t talk right now, which is suspicious to us,” he said.
One thing is for certain, Tino’s family will not rest until justice is served.
“I will call them every day of their life," said Lois. "I’m not going away till they make an arrest.”
“It’s not happening as fast as I’d like it to," said Sheriff Bryant. "I apologize she feels this way. There is a new administration here and we are putting all our efforts in to finding what happened.”
Whoever is responsible for taking Tino’s life, Lois wishes for one thing for them, salvation from the Lord.
“I want him to get a great big poster board with my son’s face on it and go to schools and tell them how living a bad life will cause you to take someone’s life you can’t give back," said Lois. "I believe it’s gonna happen, him coming forward. That’s my prayer for that young man. I want God to save him and use him.”
If you have any information concerning this case, you’re asked to call the Carter County Sheriff’s Office at 580-223-6014.