August 27, 2004
TORONTO -- Moments before a police sniper shot him dead, gunman Tony Brookes told his hostage that an audiotape in his van would "explain everything," police sources say. Based on what hostage Nicole Regis told them after her 40-minute ordeal, detectives yesterday tracked down Brookes' abandoned van on Lombard St.
They found an audio tape in which Brookes blamed Wednesday's mad rampage on the wife who left him five months ago.
"You made me do this ... you drove me to it," Brookes reportedly stated in a rambling five-minute tape.
Brookes' angry monologue, brief details of which were reported last night by CFTO-TV, is clearly aimed at wife, Marlene, 45, who remains in St. Michael's Hospital recovering from head wounds she suffered when Brookes hit her on the head with a sawed-off .22-calibre rifle.
It is believed that Sugston Anthony Brookes left his van on Lombard St. Wednesday morning and went to the basement food court in the TD Centre, where shortly after 8 a.m. he fired two shots.
When the shots missed and his gun jammed, Brookes ran after his wife and clubbed her on the head with the gun. Less than an hour later, Brookes died after ignoring repeated police orders to free Regis.
TV footage shows that during the standoff, Brookes spoke to Regis, who replied with a nod, brief words and a smile.
Quoting unnamed sources, CFTO reported Brookes "likely" intended to kill his wife, his hostage, police officers and anyone else who got in his way, but the gun jammed when a spent cartridge failed to eject after the second shot.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which probes all police shootings in Ontario, was tight-lipped about the tape.
"It is evidentiary and we don't speak about the specifics of evidentiary material," SIU spokesman Rose Bliss said.
Meanwhile, the Sun has learned that Brookes' rampage came hours before he was due to attend an "information session" in court on the couple's acrimonious divorce.
The court sessions were the latest steps in Marlene Brookes' attempt to end an 18-year marriage which was allegedly marred by infidelity, deceit and violence and which saw her husband spend 76 days in jail.
Marlene Brookes left their Ajax home in mid-March and told police that her husband had beat her, threatened to slit her throat and chased her teenage daughter with a knife.
Brookes was charged with separate counts of assault and threatening serious bodily harm to both his wife and daughter and with a separate count of causing serious bodily harm to his wife.
After spending 46 days in jail prior to trial, he pleaded guilty to all charges May 4 and was sentenced to another 30 days in jail and two years of probation. He was told to stay away from his wife and kids and take anger counselling.
A 10-year firearms ban was also ordered.
His wife and kids went into hiding in Etobicoke.
In a July 7 affidavit filed with divorce papers in Superior Court of Ontario, Marlene Brookes said the couple married Aug. 30, 1986. They had two children, Latoya, 18, and Vance Clayton, 16.
Marlene Brookes claimed support for herself and the children and the equalization of property and assets, which included the sale of their home at 50 Marshall Cres. in Ajax.
She stated that during the marriage, her husband "pushed me down stairs ... held a knife to my throat ... punched me and choked me ... carried gasoline into our house and threatened to burn it down."
At one point, he "drove through Ajax with an iron poker from our fireplace looking for Clayton. (He) has hit Latoya until her eye turned black and blue. He has also threatened Latoya with a knife."
She also alleges that, while married, her husband fathered two kids with a St. Kitts and Nevis woman and another with a Toronto woman.
Brookes was fired three years ago from a chef's job he held for 23 years at Hudson's Bay. She estimated her husband had spent most of a severance package of $110,000 and a further $37,000 settlement payout from a 2002 lawsuit.
In May 2003, she stated, her husband threatened to kill her if she didn't extend the mortgage on their home.