A well-known member of the East Feliciana School Board, a son of one of the parish’s long-serving leaders and a father of three, was found shot to death in the driver’s seat of his vehicle in Baton Rouge early Monday in a killing that police said has no known explanation.
Broderick Brooks Sr., 34, of Jackson, was discovered about 3:30 a.m. with multiple gunshot wounds in the 3200 block of Wenonah Street, said Sgt. Don Coppola, a Baton Rouge police spokesman.
The north Baton Rouge street, lined with one-story homes, some appearing vacant, was quiet Monday afternoon. Residents said they knew nothing about the death that had happened there the night before.
But the street outside Brooks’ childhood home in Jackson had a busy feeling Monday, with nearly the entire horseshoe-shaped lane filled with cars and mourners.
“We’ve suffered a great loss here, and so has this parish,” said Brooks’ godmother, Vernette King-Cage, 48, standing outside the well-kept yard at 7105 Richardson Loop, the home of Brooks’ parents and his official residence. She said Brooks’ folks, including his father, longtime parish Police Juror Edward Brooks Sr., were too distraught to talk.
“He was loved by people everywhere,” King-Cage said.
Coppola said Monday there are no suspects in the shooting, and he said he could not provide reasons for why Brooks might have been found on Wenonah Street, citing the ongoing investigation.
An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, said East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William “Beau” Clark.
Brooks’ death sent ripples throughout East Feliciana Parish on Monday, with many saying they had to call others for double or triple confirmation of the news they found so unbelievable.
In addition to being a School Board member, Brooks worked full time as the community outreach director at RKM, a health care clinic in nearby Clinton. A singer and organist, Brooks also had recently become an ordained minister and was involved in the Breath of Life Church in Clinton, said his cousin, Karlyn King, 33. He also had been editor of The Baker Observer, a newspaper that folded about 2009.
Brooks had been scheduled to speak at the graduation Monday night at East Feliciana High School, King-Cage said. He’d attended one of the schools’ former iterations known as Jackson High School.
“The entire town of Jackson is sad,” King-Cage said. “This is devastating. I can’t think of any reason anyone would be upset at him.”
She said she knew some were wondering whether he was involved in some nefarious activity that led to his death.
“They can look and look. They’ll never find anything,” she said.
A person who answered the phone for Brooks’ wife said Krischell Williams-Brooks was not able to speak to a reporter.
Brooks was serving his second term on the School Board, having been a member for about 5 ½ years, said the board’s president, Michael Bradford.
He was “a voice of the children of East Feliciana Parish” and a “natural leader,” Bradford said.
“He was an awesome young man,” Bradford said. “It’s just a big loss to not just the School Board but also to the East Feliciana family.”
Beth Dawson, another School Board member, said she’d known Brooks since he was in middle school and also had advised him on the yearbook committee at Jackson High School when he was a student there. He had many talents and had a wonderful voice, she said.
“He’s one School Board member who visited all the schools,” she said. “When they needed an emcee, they called him. When they needed a singer, they called him. He always was taking part in all the activities.”
Brooks’ life followed the mold set by the rest of his family, known in the community for being “civic-minded people,” said Audrey Fasciane, the director of the East Feliciana Parish Chamber of Commerce. “He was a very caring man.”
His two brothers are pastors, King-Cage said.
Brooks had worked at RKM for about seven years and was responsible for setting up health fairs and engaging with the community served by the clinic, which specializes in affordable medical, dental and behavioral health care, said its chief operating officer, David Adcock.
“We’ve lost someone we loved and are pretty much in shock right now,” Adcock said.
A group of extended family members, some of whom live in the other houses on the horseshoe-shaped street in Jackson, gathered on a driveway, eager to express how kind Brooks was.
“If anything, this is what we want to know,” said Keashua King, 42. “Who would do something to him like this?”