Last Updated at 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 27

Anchorage police say Christmas Eve was the deadliest day of the year — with three homicides in less than 24 hours.

Monday evening, friends and family organized a vigil to remember two of the victims — 38-year-old Christopher Brooks and 32-year-old Danielle Brooks. The couple was shot to death at their home on Peterkin Avenue in Mountain View.

Danielle Brooks’ 5- year-old son was in the home when three masked men went into his house and shot his parents, police said. He called the men “ninjas.”

“He’s having nightmares about ninjas,” said Debra Brooks, Christopher Brooks’ mother. “It’s unfair because he’s gotta grow up without a mother and a father.”

Debra Brooks can hardly describe the pain she’s feeling.

“My heart hurts because he’s gone, they’re gone,” she said.

The family and friends of Christopher and Danielle Brooks are full of stories about the couple.

“She was a nurse, so she was very caring and giving,” Tara Jones said of her cousin Danielle Brooks. “She was always there when I needed her, like you know, just to talk or even, you know, we used to go to the gym every day.”

Christopher Brooks loved to play basketball and host big barbecues.

“He throws barbecues in his front yard and like people were just more than welcome to come and hang out,” said the couple’s neighbor, Lyndell Tulimasealii. “You got to know him, you know, to eat some food but anybody could just come and stop and hang around, you know, have a few beers or whatever.”

Tulimasaelii said the couple was generous. That’s why those gathered at the vigil say they can’t understand why the men who robbed them had to kill them.

“Chris told whoever it was, ‘Take whatever you want, take it all,’ you know, he didn’t care,” Debra Brooks said. “You didn’t have to kill him. You didn’t have to kill her cuz she didn’t know nobody. Her best friend was Chris.”

While police say the suspects came to the house to steal money and drugs, Debra Brooks said she doesn’t see her son as that kind of person.

“He was not a drug dealer, and I do not want the world thinking he was out there selling drugs,” she said. “I do not want this to be where a black man got killed and it was a drug deal gone bad. No it wasn’t, no it wasn’t.”

Regardless of what was going on in the couple’s home, she said they didn’t deserve to die.

Christopher Brooks’ 17-year-old son, Christopher Brooks Jr., who lives in Florida, said he spoke to his father just hours before his death.

“I was talking to him and I was going to see what he was doing for Christmas Eve, and he said he was going to my grandma’s to get some gumbo and a couple hours later I hear that my dad is dead,” he said.

Christopher Brooks Jr. said there’s one memory of his father that sticks with him.

“My birthday barbecue a couple years ago,” the young man recalled. “We went to the basketball court and I beat him playing one-on-one.”

Christopher Brooks Jr. said he and his mother are working to arrange a trip to Alaska for his father’s funeral.

Danielle Brooks’ stepfather, Kyle Maze, sent KTVA the following statement.

“On behalf of our family we would like to thank everyone in the community, friends, and family for the out pouring of love and support that is being given to us at this most difficult time. We would also like to acknowledge and say thank you to APD and the other agencies for their professionalism and handling of this case.

Danielle was a very beautiful person who we love very much. We have always supported and been proud of her determination and hard work to better herself and provide a good life for her son. He was everything to her.

As we witnessed Chris and Danielle’s marriage vows less than a year ago it was clear to us that she was happy. This senseless tragedy has not only left our family without our daughter, sister and mother but has left another family without a son, brother and father. Our tears, hearts and prayers go out to Chris’s family.

We would like to ask everyone to please respect our privacy as we mourn and process this life altering event.”

KTVA 11’s Liz Raines can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.