Fri, August 27, 2004
TONY BROOKES was a talented cook with a sheaf of secret recipes but he looked down on women and was not to be trifled with, a former co-worker said yesterday. "When I first saw it on TV and I saw it was Tony, I wasn't surprised," said Ken MacDonald, who worked with Brookes at The Bay for eight years.
"He had an attitude. 'Don't sass me or you'll get the back of my hand' was his favourite expression."
Sugston Anthony "Tony" Brookes was shot dead by a police Emergency Task Force sniper as he held a sawed-off rifle to the head of a woman in front of Union Station Wednesday morning.
He was chased there by a cop after trying to kill his estranged wife Marlene near the food court at TD Centre.
Court documents show Brookes, 45, terrorized his wife and two children, slept with other women and fathered kids by them.
MacDonald worked running the meals out that Brookes whipped up for The Bay and said that Brookes' Caribbean recipes were a famous and closely guarded secret.
When The Bay wanted Brookes to teach other people how to make his specialties, he refused, leading to tension with his employer that ended with a wrongful dismissal suit.
Brookes left the Bay in 2001 and eventually won a large settlement, but struggled to find steady work afterwards.
He was working as a Globe and Mail carrier when he died.
MacDonald said he got on well with Brookes, but there was always an underlying tone of menace to his colleague, especially toward women.
"He didn't need to walk around and say 'I'm bad,' " MacDonald said. "You could see it in his eyes. You didn't challenge Tony."
While he didn't boast about his extra-marital affairs, he never hid it either. "He just smiled and said that's the way it is. 'I'm a man and no one woman can tie me down.' "
A long-time female friend said Brookes loved Caribbean music and would travel the city to listen to one of his favourite groups, the Heritage Singers.
"He was a nice guy, but I think he was sick upstairs when it came to women," she said.
She said Brookes , who emigrated to Canada many years ago from St. Kitts and Nevis, began working at the Bay as a dishwasher. From there, he worked his way up to chef.