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Cyrano A. MARKS





Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Domestic violence
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: July 12, 1999
Date of birth: 1960
Victims profile: His girlfriend, Deleane Briskey, 33; her children Craig DeCarlo Briskey, 15, Tasha Briskey, 16, David Antonio Lucas Jr., 13, and Antuan Lucas, 9; and her sister Essie Jo Hugley, 37
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself the same day
photo gallery

He drove to the house of his female companion and shot her with a handgun. He then shot the woman's four children and her sister before shooting himself.



Seven found shot dead in Atlanta home

Philadelphia Daily News

July 13, 1999

Seven people were found shot to death yesterday in an Atlanta home, the only survivor an 11-year-old boy who hid in a closet for hours after he was wounded.

The motive for the fatal shootings of five adults and two children was unclear, but police were investigating whether one person killed the others and himself.


'He pretended to be dead': Boy's story of horror, survival

Philadelphia Inquirer

July 14, 1999

Around him, practically all the family he had ever known lay dying or dead. So, police said, Santonio Lucas, who had already that morning seen things no 11-year-old - or anyone of any age - ever should, crouched in a closet and waited.

Already, police said, his mother's boyfriend - the man he called "stepfather" - had carried the boy around the house as he methodically shot Santonio's mother, aunt, three brothers and sister.


Lone survivor remembers how 7 died in Atlanta home

Boy's mother's boyfriend, upset because of recent breakup, killed two adults, four children, self


July 14, 1999

The gunman --- his mother's boyfriend --- grabbed Santonio Lucas and dragged him through the home as he hunted down and executed six members of the 11-year-old's family. From his hospital bed, Santonio told police his incredible tale of survival from the massacre, which left seven dead, including the suspected gunman. Deputy Chief C.B. Jackson recounted it for reporters Tuesday.


Boy dragged through house by killer of his relatives

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

July 14, 1999

The 11-year-old boy who survived a shooting that left seven people dead in an Atlanta home was dragged through the house by the gunman as he killed six of the boy's relatives.

Santonio Lucas told police his mother's boyfriend was angry that she wanted to end their relationship.


Shot boy hides at killing scene

July 14, 1999

ATLANTA – Seven people were found shot to death in an Atlanta home yesterday, after a wounded 11-year-old boy fled from a wardrobe where he had been hiding for hours. The motive for the shootings of three adults and four children was unclear, but police were investigating whether one person killed the others and himself. Neighbour Georgia Hall said the boy, Antonio Briskey, told her his stepfather had shot everyone in the house.

"He said: ‘My stepfather shot my mama, my auntie, my brother, everyone’ … We could not believe what had happened. We just called the police and sat with the boy."

The boy, who was shot in the elbow, sought help from his neighbours in the afternoon. He told police the shooting started before 6am. He left his hiding spot about 2.30 pm. Family members and neighbours said the dead included a woman, her sister and four of their children. Neighbour Betty Fuller said the boy’s mother lived in the house with her sister and five children. She said the mother had a boyfriend, and that her boy was smart, happy go-lucky child.

"He was just as sweet as he could be, and God had to be with him for him to hide," she said.

Police stayed outside the house for more than an hour after they arrived because a dog was barking inside, raising safety concerns. Once inside, they found bodies throughout the house, which is in a neighbourhood of single-family homes and well-kept yards.

Gikeivia Johnson, a cousin of the family, said: "I’m devastated. It don’t make no sense."

Police did not release the name of the boy, who hospital officials said was in a stable condition and alert.

Dr. Leon Haley said: "He’s interacted fairly well with the physicians and nursing staff of the emergency department, answering questions appropriately, given the things that he’s gone through."


Atlanta killer had violent past

Cyrano Marks, who killed himself and six others in a murder-suicide Monday, had a history of domestic violence.

Deleane Briskey's home had seen violence before the massacre that only her young son would survive. Four times in recent months, police had been called to the single-story house -- twice after fights between Ms. Briskey's boyfriend and her ex-husband. But when police arrived on Monday, they found the bodies of Ms. Briskey, four of her children and her sister.

The sole survivor, 11-year-old Santonio Lucas, told police his mother's boyfriend, Cyrano Marks, dragged him through the house as he killed. Marks then turned the gun on himself, authorities say.

Santonio was doing well Wednesday at Grady Memorial Hospital, said his uncle, Dwight Lucas. The boy was scheduled for surgery later Wednesday. "What he's been through, he's pretty strong," the uncle said. Dr. Toni McLaurin said doctors hope that after Santonio undergoes surgery early next week he will soon be able to move the elbow again. But she said the boy will have to compensate if he ever plays sports.

"It will never be a normal elbow, but we should be able to restore function," the physician said.

Dwight Lucas said Santonio and his 10-year-old sister, Jalisa, who wasn't home at the time of the shootings, will live with their father, David Lucas. Mayor Bill Campbell visited Santonio at the hospital this morning. "I just tried to reassure him that we care about him," Campbell said. Santonio told police Marks was angry that she wanted to end their relationship.

He said Marks, 39, herded Ms. Briskey, her sister and four children into the master bedroom, but the family scattered when he brandished a pistol. "They all tried to run, but none were able to escape the house," said Deputy Chief C.B. Jackson. Marks then dragged Santonio with him from room to room as he shot the family.

Santonio said he managed to break free and run into a closet. Marks found him, placed a pillow in front of the boy's face and pulled the trigger. The weapon jammed. Marks stepped back, fiddled with the gun and fired again. The bullet smashed through the boy's elbow.

Santonio fell to the ground and played dead. Moments later, he heard another shot. Marks had turned the gun on himself, but Santonio feared the killer was still alive. He huddled in a closet for eight hours before running next door to the home of Eugene Broadus.

Broadus heard the shots at 6:45 a.m., but assumed they were firecrackers. He was gone when Santonio knocked on his door around 2:30 p.m. His wife told him what happened.

"He said, `Would you help me? My stepdaddy just killed my mom, my auntie and all my family,"' Broadus said. "He was just sucking his thumb the whole time."

Marks' sister, Sharon Leon, apologized for her brother's actions. "I can't imagine him taking the life of innocent kids," she told WSB-TV. "I just can't explain it .... I just want the families of the victims to know that I apologize on behalf of my family." .

In addition to Briskey, the victims were: Craig DeCarlo Briskey, 15; Tasha Briskey, 16; David Antonio Lucas Jr., 13; and Antuan Lucas, 9. Also killed was Essie Jo Hugley, 37, Briskey's sister who had just moved in a few months ago.



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