Tyler Perry Offers to Pay for Rayshard Brooks’s Funeral and Children’s College Education

June 16, 2020 Updated: June 16, 2020

Filmmaker Tyler Perry has offered to pay for the funeral and college education of the children of Rayshard Brooks, the man fatally shot by a police officer in Atlanta last week.

Brooks, 27, was shot twice in the back on Friday, causing injuries to his organs and blood loss, an autopsy found. The wounds led to his death, and his death was ruled a homicide, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office said Sunday.

Now Perry, 50, one of the wealthiest and most prolific black entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry, has said he will cover the cost of Brooks’s funeral and the college education of his children: stepson Mekai, 13, Blessing, 8, Memory, 2, and Dream, 1.

Brooks’s family and their attorneys thanked Perry for the offer during a press conference on Monday.

“We want to thank and acknowledge Tyler Perry, who we spoke with, who will be taking care of the funeral for the family,” attorney L. Chris Stewart said. “It’s support like that and it’s people who are actually in this community—that love the community, that want healing and families like this to never have to go through something like this—to step forward.”

Brooks was tested for sobriety at a Wendy’s drive-through in Atlanta on Friday night. When police officers determined he was under the influence, they tried handcuffing him.

According to video footage captured at the scene, Brooks took a stun gun from one of the officers and fired it at them as he ran away.

One officer, named by police officials as Garrett Rolfe, shot at Brooks three times, striking him at least twice. Rolfe has since been fired from the Atlanta Police Department, and Devin Brosnan, an officer at the scene, was placed on administrative leave.

Atlanta officer Garrett Rolfe (L) and officer Devin Brosnan
Atlanta officer Garrett Rolfe (L) and officer Devin Brosnan. (Atlanta Police Department)

The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office said on its website that homicide means a death “was caused by the actions of another person” but doesn’t necessarily mean murder.

“After the medical examiner determines the manner of death to be a homicide, then law enforcement investigate that death to determine if there is probable cause to bring the criminal charge of murder against the person who caused the death. While all murders are homicides, not all homicides are murders,” it stated.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said members of his staff witnessed the autopsy.

“Because this is a homicide investigation, there are several technical requirements that must be met before we are able to reach a decision. That includes the confirmation of the ballistics involved and obtaining a preliminary report from the medical examiner,” he said in a statement sent to news outlets.

Investigators are looking into whether Rolfe felt that Brooks “presented imminent harm of death or some serious physical injury,” he said.

“Or the alternative is whether or not he fired the shot simply to capture him or some other reason,” Howard added. “If that shot was fired for some reason other than to save that officer’s life or to prevent injury to him or others, then that shooting is not justified under the law.”

Howard said Rolfe could face murder or manslaughter charges, noting that he’d decide by Wednesday whether he will be charged.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.