An NYPD homicide detective who has worked on more than 400 murder cases in a Brooklyn neighborhood known as the “Killing Ground” will retire on Friday after 37 years.
Mark Brooks, 60, leaves the 75th police station, which includes the eastern part of New York, where he has spent his entire career as a police officer.
There have been over 1,500 murders in the area since Brooks first walked through the doors of Sutter Ave station in 1984 – and he has personally worked on over 400 of them.
Given the name of a homicide victim in eastern New York City over the past three decades, Brooks can recall exactly where it happened.
The 75e is known to be one of the city’s most violent neighborhoods – the Post calling it New York’s “death ground” in 1993, when a murder took place every 63 hours.
Among the notable cases Brooks worked on was the murder of 2006 graduate student Imette St. Guillen, who was raped and murdered after celebrating her 25th birthday.e birthday in Manhattan.
His naked and strangled corpse was later found wrapped in a blanket and thrown in the weeds near Belt Parkway in eastern New York.
“[The] The Immette case was really interesting because it was the first time that we had used DNA at this point to solve a murder, ”Brooks told the Post.
He added that some people initially thought it was possible dump work for a prostitute.
“I knew it wasn’t. Like most families of the victims, his was lost. It was gratifying to solve this case for them, ”he said.
The fatal shooting in 2011 of decorated NYPD detective Peter Figoski during a drug den raid was a “personal” case for Brooks.
“I worked with him and saw his smiley face every night when he came to work at midnight,” Brooks said. “He had four young daughters and loving parents. We weren’t going to rest until we arrested everyone involved.
The 1996 Kevin Foote love triangle murder was also a notable case for Brooks after the victim’s wife, Vanessa Foote Richardson, confessed to watching a former boyfriend shoot him down.
“Kevin Foote was killed by his wife and her new husband for insurance money. Her father kept calling and we couldn’t tell him we were looking at the woman. He was persistent and kept calling me. I was happy to be able to tell him that we made an arrest, ”Brooks recalls.
Now, detectives at the 75th have a little more time to work on cases today than they did at the start of Brooks’ career. There have been 24 homicides this year, while there were 26 in total last year and 10 in 2019.
In the early 1990s, the compound often recorded more than 100 homicide cases each year.
Open cases are usually written on a wall in the team room and are colored red when resolved, Brooks said.
“A red box on a case I’ve worked on has always been a great achievement,” said the veteran policeman.
Former Detective Chief Robert Boyce, who was Brooks’ sergeant in the 75th in the mid-90s, described him as one of the most “thorough and savvy” detectives.
“I knew if I gave him a deal it would be resolved,” Boyce told The Post. “The people of Eastern New York owe him a debt of gratitude for all of his hard work in resolving these cases.”
After a long career solving murders, Brooks now plans to devote more time to his construction business and his three grandchildren.
“It went fast, I can’t believe it when you say 37, but it’s time to go. I look up and see I’m working with the sons of people I’ve worked with, ”Brooks said.
“I will miss it. I will miss my partners. I will miss helping families who have just lost a loved one.