Retired Emergency Manís Association


Shooting victim is mourned




The retired NYPD lieutenant gunned down by a drunken driver on Long Island was remembered fondly yesterday by grieving family members and old friends on the force.

"He was there for everybody," said Police Officer Martha Vales, 30, who used to be Lt. Richard Brooks' assistant at Brooklyn's 71st Precinct.


Her voice choked up. "He was the integrity control officer in the seven-one," she said. "He was a cop's cop. He was there for everybody. They all loved him at work. Rank meant nothing to him - he treated everybody the same."


Brooks, 44, retired from the NYPD in 2002. On Friday afternoon, working as a Babylon Town bay constable, he had been pursuing a suspected drunken driver in Oak Beach. The suspect, James Wilson, 42, sped to his house, ran upstairs, grabbed a shotgun and fired from a second-floor window, hitting Brooks in the chest.


Then Wilson ran back outside and drove away - over Brooks' fallen body. Wilson was killed in a confrontation with cops.


Brooks' police career included time in the NYPD's Emergency Service Unit and the State Police Transit Unit.


"If he had been in the seventy-one when this happened, he'd have been wearing a vest," said Lt. Bill Giblin, vice president of the Lieutenants Benevolent Association.


"I used to make him wear that vest all the time," said Vales. "He always wore it."


At Brooks' Amityville, L.I., home, his brother-in-law, Richard Vazquez, said Brooks' widow, Sylvia, son, Richard Jr., 18, and daughter, Lori, 14, are all "heartbroken."


"The most important things to him were his wife and kids," said Police Officer Kevin Stasinski, a friend of Brooks in the 71st Precinct. "Right now we're trying to get things together to show support for the family."


A wake will be held from 2-4:30 p.m. and 7-9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Powell Funeral Home in Amityville. A funeral Mass will be said at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Martin of Tours Church in Amityville.


Originally published on July 18, 2004