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‘Feels like a bad dream’: Father of stabbing victim says suspect who also shot 4 others was ‘longtime boyfriend’

By Gladys Bautista

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    CENTER POINT, Alabama (WVTM) — One day after a man was arrested in Louisiana for a violent crime spree that started in Alabama and spanned over 400 miles, the father of the first person he is alleged to have killed in Center Point said he is in shock.

Even after finalizing the plan for his 40-year-old daughter Erica Williams’ funeral, Marvin Tolbert said it still feels like a bad dream.

“We are very surprised,” Tolbert said. “I mean, nobody saw it coming. I always remember seeing my baby, and like I said, it’s not a moment without joy around.”

Tolbert described how true the joy was when she was around, even the last time he saw her on Sunday, just hours before she was killed.

“She had fixed a plate so I brought a plate home and I was calling to let her know how good it was and she never did answer the phone,” Tolbert said.

Tolbert explained that a call from his other daughter is how he learned Williams had been stabbed to death in her apartment on 20th Street NE in Center Point Sunday afternoon.

Tolbert said he rushed to the crime scene, and when he got there, he received another call.

“She told me he had come over here and was shooting up over here,” Tolbert said.

Police said the man accused of killing Williams, her longtime boyfriend, 50-year-old Cortrell Burks, left her apartment after stabbing her and traveled to a home on 48th Street North in the Woodlawn neighborhood where police believe her mother lives and shot four of her loved ones.

“Everyone is doing OK, but two of them still have bullet holes in them,” Tolbert said. “Two of them also said he looked at them, he had shot ’em, and they was on the ground, and he looked at them and shot them again.”

Police said Burks was on the run until Tuesday.

Authorities in Bossier City, Louisiana — in the Shreveport area — said Burks shot and killed two people Tuesday morning while attempting to rob a gas station.

When officers responded to the scene, police said Burks then got into a shootout with officers — injuring one officer and another person.

He was later taken into custody. The injured officer is expected to be OK.

Tolbert described the confusion that he feels as he now grieves the loss of his daughter, who leaves behind one son.

“It’s just by the grace of God nobody else here was killed because later on we found out there was a couple more that wasn’t as fortunate in Louisiana, so our heart goes out to them and their family,” Tolbert said. “You know, we don’t know why. I don’t have any idea why because, like I said, they’ve been together for a period of time, the family had never been against him, we’ve broken bread together, we have eaten together, and I just don’t know. I just don’t understand.”

In Louisiana, Burks now faces two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of use of a firearm during an armed robbery. He’s currently being held in a Louisiana jail on a $2.5 million bond.

Officials with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said it is uncertain when Burks will be extradited back to Alabama to answer to the charges he faces which include murder.

Birmingham Police officials said charges against Burks in Birmingham are pending for shooting and injuring the four people in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

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