‘Killing Ground’ NYPD homicide detective retires after 37 years

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An NYPD homicide detective who worked on more than 400 murder cases at the Brooklyn campus, known as the “Killing Ground,” will retire Friday after 37 years.

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Mark Brooks, 60, is withdrawing from the 75th Precinct, which includes the East New York neighborhood where he has spent his entire policing career.

There have been more than 1,500 murders in the area since Brooks first passed through the doors of his Sutter Avenue stationhouse in 1984—and he has personally acted on more than 400 of them.

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If naming a homicide victim in East New York within the past three decades, Brooks can remember exactly where it happened.

75th In 1993, The Post called it New York’s “killing ground”, when there was a murder every 63 hours.

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Notable cases included Brooks’ murder of honors grad student Imte St Guillon in 2006, who was raped and murdered after celebrating 25th Birthday in Manhattan.

Her naked, strangled body was later found wrapped in a blanket and dumped in weeds near Belt Parkway in eastern New York.

,[The] The Immet case was really interesting because it was the first time we had used DNA to such an extent to solve a murder,” Brooks told The Post.

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

He said some people initially believed it was a potential dumping job of a prostitute.

“I knew it was not. Like most of the victims’ families, she was lost. It was gratifying for them to settle that matter,” he said.

The 2011 fatal shooting of decorated NYPD detective Peter Figoski during a drug den raid was a “personal” affair for Brooks.

“I worked with him, and every night he would see his smiling face when he came to work in the middle of the night,” Brooks said. “They had four young girls, and were loving parents. We were not going to rest until we arrested all those involved.”

The love-triangle murder of Kevin Foote in 1996 was also a notable case for Brooks when the victim’s wife, Vanessa Foote Richardson, admitted that an old lover had shot her.

“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 seeing the wife. He was persistent and kept calling me. Tell me this Glad we made an arrest,” Brooks recalled.

Killing Ground Front Page.
The 75th Precinct, which includes the neighborhood of East New York, was dubbed a “murder ground”.

Now, detectives in 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 murders this year, while there were a total of 26 last year and 10 in 2019.

In the early ’90s, the complex often recorded over 100 murder cases each year.

Open cases are usually written on a wall in squad rooms and painted red when they are resolved, Brooks said.

“A red box on every case I’ve worked with was always a big achievement,” said the veteran cop.

The former chief of detectives, Robert Boyce, – who served as Brooks’ sergeant in the 75th in the mid-90s – described him as one of the most “thorough and sensible” spies.

“I knew if I gave him a case it was going to be settled,” Boyce told The Post. “The people of East New York are indebted with gratitude for their hard work in solving those cases.”

After a long career solving murders, Brooks now plans to devote more time to his construction business and with his three grandchildren.

“It’s gone by fast, I can’t believe it when you say 37 years old, but it’s time to go. I look up and see that I’m dealing with the sons of the guys I’m working with.” I used to work,” Brooks said.

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

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