Whoever fatally shot East Feliciana Parish School Board member Broderick Brooks early Monday morning in north Baton Rouge rifled through his car and took a handful of items after blasting him several times in the chest.
Two Baton Rouge homicide detectives found Brooks dead behind the wheel of his Nissan Altima in front of a home in the 3200 block of Wenonah Street just after 3:30 a.m., the engine still running, a police report says.
Police officers had swept the neighborhood earlier that morning after ShotSpotter, a system that uses microphones and sensors to identify and locate the sounds of gunshots, alerted police at 12:50 a.m. of possible gunfire near Erie Street and Wenonah, less than two blocks from where Brooks, 34, was discovered.
But officers didn’t find signs of a shooting, the report says, and it wasn’t until a resident called complaining of Brooks’ engine left running in the front yard of a home at Wenonah and Winbourne Avenue that police discovered Brooks’ body.
When detectives looked inside, the report says, “it was clear the suspect(s) had rummaged through Brooks’ vehicle after shooting him and taken various belongings.”
Investigators still haven’t determined whether the ShotSpotter had picked up the gunfire that killed Brooks earlier that morning or if the activation was unrelated, said Sgt. Don Coppola, a Baton Rouge police spokesman, and it remains unclear when exactly Brooks was killed.
And although items were taken from the vehicle, Coppola said, detectives haven’t yet determined whether robbery or another motive might’ve led to the shooting.
The street corner where Brooks was found, in a high-crime Baton Rouge neighborhood more than 25 miles from Jackson, has raised questions. But it remained unclear Tuesday why Brooks, who lists as his address his parents’ home on Richardson Loop in Jackson, was in the north Baton Rouge neighborhood.
An autopsy performed Tuesday afternoon showed Brooks died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and upper extremities, said Dr. William “Beau” Clark, East Baton Rouge Parish coroner.
The slaying has left many in East Feliciana Parish baffled and grieving. Those who knew him described a bright, well-respected and upstanding father of three from a prominent family. His father, Edward Brooks Sr., is a longtime East Feliciana Parish police juror.
“He was very well-liked,” said Sam D’Aquilla, district attorney for the 20th Judicial District, which includes East Feliciana Parish. D’Aquilla said Brooks had never been in trouble with the law. “I haven’t heard anything bad about him at all.”
School officials on Monday described Brooks as an energetic and passionate board member who played an active role in the district, visiting schools and joining in events. He was in his second term on the board and was set to serve through 2018.
Brooks also worked full-time as community outreach director at RKM, a health care clinic in nearby Clinton. He was the former editor of The Baker Observer, a newspaper that folded around 2009. His cousin said he’d recently become an ordained minister and was active as a singer and organist at the Breath of Life Church in Clinton.
“He was loved by people everywhere,” his godmother, Vernette King-Cage, told The Advocate on Monday outside his family’s home in Jackson.
Police haven’t identified any suspects in slaying, Coppola said Tuesday evening, but detectives are continuing to pore over the case.
“Investigators are looking at every piece of this in order to find those responsible for his death,” Coppola said.
Advocate staff write Maya Lau contributed to this story. Follow Bryn Stole on Twitter, @Bryn Stole.