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

Posted at 11:21 AM, Apr 12, 2018

HARVEST, AL — A manhunt is underway in Alabama for the man accused of killing a musician after she left orchestra practice in Pinellas Park, police say.

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 in Alabama have confirmed they are expanding their search. They have not been able to locate Brooks  after they set up a perimeter. There were extensive searches in that perimeter, but Brooks has not been located. Authorities have contacted surrounding communities so they can be on the lookout for the suspect.

Alabama authorities said they are not sure how long Brooks has 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 is a reward for Brooks' arrest.

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