Pinellas Park orchestra member was landlord of suspect wanted for her murder

Manhunt underway for man who killed musician
Posted at 11:21 AM, Apr 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-13 07:58:38-04

HARVEST, AL — A Florida man accused of killing a musician after she left orchestra practice in Pinellas Park has been shot and killed by police in Pennsylvania, deputies say. 

RELATED | Florida man wanted for orchestra member's murder shot, killed during Pennsylvania police pursuit

State police say officers tried to stop 45-year-old Steven Brooks on Interstate 79 in South Strabane late Thursday. They say Brooks drove away and went the wrong way down a ramp from Interstate 79 to Interstate 70 before crashing his vehicle into a bridge support column around 11:30 p.m.

Brooks then allegedly fled on foot and pulled a gun on officers, trading gunfire with them. He was shot in the exchange and was pronounced dead around 1:40 a.m. Friday.

Caroline Morton-Hicks, 59, was shot to death on February 12.

After conducting an extensive investigation Pinellas Park Police recently obtained an arrest warrant for 45-year-old Siddeeq Ma'Shooq, who is also known as Steven Brooks, of St. Petersburg.

According to an eviction attorney, Morton-Hicks was Brooks' landlord. The attorney exclusively tells ABC Action News that Brooks was late on his February rent and owed $675. He also owed March rent as well.

He received an official eviction notice on April 2, nearly two months after Morton-Hicks was murdered. ABC Action News also learned he owed $1350 at the time of the eviction.

The Pinellas Park Police Department has not released information about the motive of the crime nor did they release any new details of their investigation to ABC Action News.

Brooks spent nearly half his life in prison.  The 45-year-old is a career violent habitual felony offender, serving more than 21-years in prison for crimes that include 3rd degree murder, grand theft auto, hit-and-run, escape, aggravated assault with intent, to name a few.  He was last released from a Florida prison in Feb. 2016.  

Through investigative techniques, investigators say they were able to locate a possible location of Brooks in Harvest, Alabama Wednesday night.


Woman shot and killed in front of Pinellas Park City Hall

Musician leaving orchestra practice shot and killed in front of Pinellas Park City Hall

Friends, musicians remember trombone player shot & killed after orchestra rehearsal near City Hall

Local law enforcement in Madison County, Alabama along with U.S. Marshals attempted to locate and take Brooks into custody on the arrest warrant. There was a 3-hour standoff with the suspect. Brooks was able to flee from the home that lead to a manhunt in the area of Harvest, Alabama.

Authorities had contacted surrounding communities so they could be on the lookout for the suspect.

Alabama authorities said they are not sure how long Brooks had been in Alabama. They told us an associate from Alabama drove to Florida to pick him up and drove him back to their state.

ABC Action News spoke with Brooks family members who said he won’t turn himself in. “He’s not going back to prison.”

A friend of Caroline Morton-Hicks said he felt relieved when he heard a suspect had been identified exactly two months after she was murdered.

“A day hasn’t gone by since this happened that I haven’t asked myself what went on there. What was this all about and how could it have happened to somebody as wonderful a person as she was," Gary Williams said.

Williams said he wants answers.

“She was just a wonderful human being and so I just hope that we’re able to get to the bottom of this to find out why this happened," Williams said.

ABC Action News learned from Alabama authorities there was a reward for Brooks' arrest.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.