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Rayshard Brooks' widow says daughter doesn't understand dad is never coming home

Tomika Miller remembered her husband as "a great man" who was "just a joy."
/ Source: TODAY

The widow of Rayshard Brooks dabbed tears Monday as she imagined how she is going to tell her 8-year-old daughter that her father is dead after he was shot by police outside a Wendy's in Atlanta on Friday night.

"I don't know how I'm gonna to explain it to her because I still can't understand it right now, and I'm really thinking that she doesn't understand that her father is never coming back home," Tomika Miller told Craig Melvin on the 3rd hour of TODAY on Monday.

The couple's oldest daughter was ready to have a day of activities with her father on Saturday in celebration of her eighth birthday, but he never made it home. The little girl also asked about him on Monday as Miller and their family continue to grieve the loss of the father of four.

"It's no sense to be made," Miller said. "I'm really hurt. I'm still feeling numb from everything. This morning when I woke up, my daughter asked me, 'Are we still having swimming lessons?' And I didn't know how to answer that because that's something that her dad told her they were gonna do today."

Miller remembered Brooks as a fun-loving husband and father.

"My husband was a great man,'' she said. "He was an awesome father, awesome husband. He was loving, kind. He was about unity and just helping people.

"He was funny, he was just a joy. ... He was just a very good person all the way around. Even when he was upset, he held it in. You wouldn't know, you had to make him talk about it."

Authorities in Georgia ruled Sunday that the shooting of Brooks, 27, was a homicide. Garrett Rolfe, the officer who shot Brooks, was fired.

A second officer was placed on administrative leave and Atlanta police Chief Erika Shields stepped down from her position in the aftermath of the shooting.

Police received a call that a man was sleeping in his car at the Wendy's drive-through, and video then shows Brooks speaking with officers calmly for about 40 minutes. However, he struggled with officers after they gave him a field sobriety test and attempted to take him into custody.

Surveillance video appears to show Brooks running away from the officers with a Taser that he'd taken from one of them, according to the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He died after he was shot twice in the back, the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office said in a statement.

Miller said earlier on TODAY Monday that she has not watched the video of the incident because she is "already in enough pain right now."

Miller's attorney, L. Chris Stewart, said on the 3rd hour of TODAY that they are awaiting the district attorney's decision this week on whether criminal charges will be filed against Rolfe.

"It didn't have to happen and it shouldn't have happened," Stewart said. "It easily could've ended with them letting him walk home."

"To me, I just feel like justice here is when someone is locked away and they're serving a sentence for their crimes they done, but to me I don't think justice will ever be served until God deals with that person," Miller said.

Brooks' death resulted in protests in Atlanta amid ongoing protests worldwide following the death last month of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man in Minneapolis who died after a white officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

"People are trying to understand why (Brooks) reacted the way that he did when they were simply trying to handcuff him,'' Stewart said. "Well, look at George Floyd. He got handcuffs put on him and he was arrested and he ended up dead.

"So just because (Brooks) was gonna get handcuffs put him on him didn't mean that it was over in his mind. He may have had flashbacks to what he had been watching 24/7 like all of us."