Statement of Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. on the shooting in Fitchburg today (1-27-16):
In the early morning hours of Jan. 22 the Sheriff’s office and police in Amelia, Virginia responded to a report of an active abduction and threats to kill at a local home.
Inside the home they found the body of Woodell Brooks, 68. He was bound to a chair and had been strangled to death.
His wife, Olene Brooks, also 68, was missing and presumed kidnapped. The Brooks’ 2010 silver Dodge Caravan was also missing.
Investigators identified Dana Lee William, 43, who grew up in Fitchburg , as a suspect in the murder and abduction.
William was the ex-son-in-law of Woodell and Olene Brooks and investigators believed he targeted them.
Investigators had reason to believe William was headed back to Massachusetts in the stolen van.
At 11:15 last night, a Fitchburg police officer on patrol located the van in a parking lot on River Street.
Working with the State Police Violent Fugitive Section, Fitchburg Police located William in an apartment at 19 Chester St., about a half mile from where the van was found.
It appeared he knew someone at that location.
At about 9 a.m. today, members of the State Police STOP team surrounded and entered the apartment. As they did, William shot himself in the head.
He was treated at the scene and was taken to Umass Memorial Hospital in Worcester where he is in critical condition.
Olene Brooks has not been found and there is active search for her.
The investigation has been a cooperative effort involving several agencies , including Fitchburg Police, the Amelia County Sheriff’s Department, Virginia State Police, the U.S. Marshalls, Massachusetts State Police, including the State Police Detectives assigned to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office and VFAS.