Aug. 27, 2004. 06:32 AM
Pedestrians outside Union Station yesterday pass a single pink carnation amid crushed yellow daisies that marks the spot where Tony Brookes was shot dead by a police sharpshooter Wednesday morning after Brookes attacked his estranged wife and took another woman hostage at gunpoint. Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, which is looking into the incident, has named two subject officers.
Did jammed gun spare lives?
Weapon jammed after Brookes fired two shots
Hostage-taker's tape tries to lay blame on wife

Aug. 27, 2004. 06:32 AM


Tony Brookes was supposed to be in an anger management class yesterday.


Instead, police were combing through evidence he left behind, including a tape recording they found in his car.


According to those who have heard it, Brookes blames his actions on his wife, Marlene, in the five-minute cassette tape.


"You made me do this, you drove me to it," he reportedly said on the tape he left behind.


Domestic abuse counsellors say such twisted "reasoning" is a classic defence by which abusers try to justify their actions.


And according to a report aired by CFTO News yesterday, police investigators were learning that Wednesday morning's rush-hour standoff outside Union Station could have been even more devastating: Brookes' .22-calibre rifle reportedly jammed after he fired two shots in the food court of the Canadian Pacific Tower, leaving him unable to fire again after he reached street level and took his hostage.


Investigators also reported yesterday that Brookes died of a single gunshot wound to the head. The Star has learned that the fatal shot was fired by Emergency Task Force Constable Gord Lusby, acting on orders given by his superior, Sergeant Tom Sharkey, a seasoned veteran and respected ETF member.


The hostage, Nicole Regis, was home in Ajax with her family. The 20-year-old student had been headed to work on her last day as an intern at the Royal Bank's Wellington St. offices before returning to Hamilton's McMaster University.


Outside Union Station yesterday, some pedestrians stopped while others simply walked past a bundle of flowers on the sidewalk, the only remaining evidence of Wednesday's standoff.


A single pink carnation, surrounded by crushed yellow daisies and baby's breath, marked the spot where Brookes went down. Fire department crews had earlier washed away the bloodstain where he fell.


Taxi driver Adam Abdulziz, 35, said life was back to normal. He was on standby on Front St. when the hostage-taking began and saw Brookes put a gun to the woman's head, but he left before he was shot. "I knew it was coming from what I could hear on the radio."


Brookes wasn't halfway through his anger management course.


Had he showed up, yesterday's appointment would have been his seventh in a series of court-ordered therapy sessions designed to help him deal with his rage without harming others.


The therapy is part of the Partner Assault Response Program, under the provincial attorney general's office. An official describes the sessions as "counselling educational intervention programs, which offer offenders the opportunity to examine the beliefs and attitudes used to justify their abusive behaviour."


Offenders are supposed to learn how to resolve conflicts through non-abusive responses based on "respect, autonomy and equality." Meanwhile, the ministry offers "outreach safety, planning and support" for other family members.


The 16-week course had been a condition of Brookes' parole.


After years of covering up her husband's abuse toward her and their children, Marlene Brookes reported to police on March 13 that he held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her.


Brookes was arrested, charged and, on May 4, found guilty of assault, assault with a weapon and uttering threats. He served 30 days in jail and was paroled on condition that he attend the therapy. A restraining order forbid him to go within 100 metres of any family member.


On Monday, June 28, Brookes was assigned to a program near the Ajax home Marlene shared with him until March 13, the day she and their two teenaged children fled the house. He showed up six times — July 8, 15, 22 and 29, as well as Aug. 12 and 19. He missed Aug. 5.


On July 29, Marlene Brookes filed divorce papers that detailed a pattern of abuse that included throwing her down the stairs, threatening her and their daughter at knifepoint and driving around Ajax with a fireplace poker looking for their son.


Still being treated in St. Michael's Hospital for head wounds, Marlene Brookes is a very private person, said her boss, Raz Sachedina.


The long-dismal state of her marriage came up only six or seven months ago, he said. After she missed a day of work, Sachedina became concerned, especially when he called her home and there was no answer.


"When she came in to work the next day, she told us that her husband held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her. She said she pushed him down the stairs and ran out of the house to a nearby shopping mall, where she called the cops."


Alarmed, Sachedina asked her if this had happened before.


"She told me that it happened almost since the start of their marriage. She said that he hit the children with anything and everything handy."


But Marlene Brookes' pain was intensely private — and she was determined to keep it that way. "She told me that even her sisters and brothers didn't know what was going on."


Sachedina, owner of Preeners Custom Fabricare, where Marlene had worked for at least eight years, visited her at St. Michael's Wednesday afternoon. He said she seemed to be doing okay despite being in shock.


Sachedina spoke with Brookes' daughter, Latoya, 18, but her 16-year-old son, Clayton, was with a counsellor at the time. "The girl was holding up okay," he said, adding the boy seemed to be having a harder time.


Sachedina is accepting donations for the family at his two locations, at the TD Centre and First Canadian Place.


Hospital spokesperson David Davenport said Marlene Brookes is in stable condition with a still undetermined head wound.


"Her family is around her. She has a lot of emotional support from her family and from hospital staff."


With files from Tarannum Kamlani