‘Killing Ground’ NYPD homicide detective retires after 37 years

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An NYPD homicide detective who labored greater than 400 homicide instances in a Brooklyn precinct dubbed the “Killing Ground” will retire on Friday after 37 years.

Mark Brooks, 60, is stepping down from the seventy fifth Precinct, which incorporates the East New York neighborhood, the place he’s spent his total policing profession.

There have been greater than 1,500 murders within the space since Brooks walked by way of the doorways of the Sutter Ave stationhouse for the primary time again in 1984 – and he’s labored on over 400 of them personally.

If given the title of a homicide sufferer in East New York throughout the final three a long time, Brooks can recall precisely the place it occurred.

The 75th is infamous for being among the many most violent precincts within the metropolis – with The Post calling it New York’s “Killing Ground” in 1993 when a homicide was going down each 63 hours.

Among the noteworthy instances Brooks labored was the 2006 slaying of honors grad scholar Imette St. Guillen, who was raped and murdered after celebrating her 25th birthday in Manhattan.

Her nude, strangled corpse was later discovered wrapped in a blanket and dumped within the weeds close to the Belt Parkway in East New York.

“[The] Immette case was really interesting because it was the first time we used DNA to that extent to solve a murder,” Brooks informed The Post.

Det. Mark Brooks, 60, far right, walks Brooklyn ripper Daniel St. Hubert.
Detective Mark Brooks (far proper) walks Brooklyn ripper Daniel St. Hubert.
Paul Martinka

He added that some folks initially believed it was a potential dump job of a hooker.

“I knew it wasn’t. Like most victims’ families, hers was lost. It was gratifying to solve that case for them,” he stated.

The 2011 deadly capturing of embellished NYPD detective Peter Figoski throughout a drug den raid was a “personal” case for Brooks.

“I worked with him, and saw his smiling face every night when he came in to work at midnight,” Brooks stated. “He had four young girls, and loving parents. We weren’t going to rest until we arrested everyone involved.”

The love-triangle homicide of Kevin Foote in 1996 was additionally a notable case for Brooks after the sufferer’s spouse Vanessa Foote Richardson confessed to watching on as an outdated boyfriend shot him useless.

“Kevin Foote was killed by his wife and her new husband for insurance money. His father kept calling and we couldn’t tell him we were looking at the wife. He was persistent and kept calling me. I was glad to be able to tell him we made an arrest,” Brooks recalled.

Killing Ground front page.
The seventy fifth Precinct, which incorporates the East New York neighborhood, was dubbed the “Killing Ground.”

Now, detectives within the seventy fifth have a little bit extra time to work on instances immediately than they did early in Brooks’ profession. There have been 24 homicides this 12 months, whereas there have been 26 in complete final 12 months and 10 in 2019.

Back within the early 90s, the precinct usually recorded greater than 100 homicide instances annually.

Open instances are normally written up on a wall within the squad room and are coloured pink once they’re solved, Brooks stated.

“A red box on a case I worked was always a great accomplishment,” the veteran cop stated.

Former chief of detectives, Robert Boyce, — who was Brooks’ sergeant within the seventy fifth within the mid-90s — described him as one of the crucial “thorough and savviest” detectives.

“I knew if I gave him a case it was going to be solved,” Boyce informed The Post. “The people of East New York owe him a debt of gratitude for all his hard work in solving those cases.”  

After a prolonged profession fixing murders, Brooks now plans to commit extra time to his building enterprise and along with his three grandchildren.

“It has gone fast, I can’t believe it when you say 37 years, but it is time to go. I look up and I see I am working with the sons of people I used to work with,” Brooks stated.

“I will miss it. I will miss my partners. I will miss helping families who just lost a loved one.”