Surviving Family of Frederick Rooks Can Sue Ricky “Silento” Hawk for His Shooting

The rapper known as Silento, given name Ricky Hawk, has been arrested and charged with the murder of his cousin, Frederick Rooks.

Rooks was found early the morning of January 21st lying on the pavement of Deep Shoals Circle in DeKalb County, dead from multiple gunshot wounds to the face and leg. Neighbors heard the shots at around 3:30am, and security cameras captured portions of the incident. Neither Rooks nor Hawk lived on Deep Shoals Circle, but residents of a nearby home were familiar with Rooks.

Though police have not publicly speculated on a potential motive for Rooks’ murder, Hawk has previously been arrested on domestic violence and gun-related charges. A woman identifying herself as Hawk’s publicist noted that Hawk has long struggled with mental illness.

Shooters Are Subject to Civil Suits as Well as Criminal Prosecution

Little information has been released about Rooks’ personal life and family, but his next of kin have definite grounds for a wrongful death suit should they choose to pursue one. A civil suit would be separate from the criminal proceedings that are already underway against Hawk, and its purpose would be to compensate the family — something criminal law does not do.

Causing someone harm by shooting them is negligent, just as causing them harm by selling a defective product is. The reason people often choose not to sue violent perpetrators is that, unlike major companies, private citizens usually can’t afford to pay for a worthwhile settlement.

Hawk, however, has been wildly and consistently successful since releasing his breakout video, “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” while still in high school. His current net worth is estimated to be between $1.5 and $6 million. If he is indeed found to be Rooks’ killer, he can certainly afford to pay for the pain and expense Rooks’ death has caused his immediate family.

The Stoddard Firm Helps Families Pursue Successful Wrongful Death Suits

When someone dies because of someone else’s negligence, Georgia law specifies which family members can file wrongful death suits.

Surviving spouses and children get first priority. If the deceased has no living spouse or children, surviving parents have the option to sue instead. If there are no surviving parents either, the executor of the estate may file suit, but in that case, the settlement becomes part of the estate, to be distributed as any other assets would be.

The Stoddard Firm is experienced in all aspects of wrongful death law and can help surviving family members make the true scope of their loss understood in court, so that they receive the full compensation they’re owed.

If you are Frederick Rooks’ next of kin, or if you have lost someone in a similar act of violence, The Stoddard Firm is standing by to offer you a free consultation on your options.

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