Police say officers responded properly

Calls for help reported day before body was found

`They had very little to go on'

January 31, 2003|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County police yesterday said officers acted appropriately Sunday night when they checked on a report of a woman calling for help in a Randallstown-area neighborhood where a 52-year-old state worker was later found bludgeoned to death.

But neighbors say they don't think officers did enough to prevent the killing of Linda Carol Brooks, whose body was discovered Monday night in her home.

The officers didn't knock on anyone's door, they said, or search the area after a neighbor called police Sunday night and said she could hear a woman yelling, "Help me! Help me!"

Bill Toohey, a Police Department spokesman, said one officer spent about 20 minutes listening for the sound and driving up and down the street looking for signs of trouble.

"No screams were heard while the officers were there," Toohey said, who noted the neighbor who called police didn't know where the calls for help were coming from. "It would have been different if they had received two or three calls about the noise. But in this case, they had very little to go on."

Toohey said the first officer reported his arrival in the neighborhood about 25 minutes after being dispatched. He said the officer and a corporal who also responded drove up and down the street with the windows of their patrol cars down. Toohey said one officer pointed a light toward the woods before they left.

But neighbors aren't convinced police did all they should have.

"I'm not going to let them sweep this under the rug," said Meg Bober, who called police. "What the officer did wasn't OK. He just sat in the car. He never talked to another neighbor. That's not an investigation. That's like hoping nothing would happen while he was here."

"She could have been alive at the point," Bober said. "You never know."

Sommer Brooks, 22, was charged early Tuesday with first-degree murder. She is accused of beating her mother to death with an ax and maul.

Sommer Brooks called police at a male friend's prompting. Paramedics were called to the home and found Linda Carol Brooks dead in a bathroom with severe trauma to her upper body and head.

The male friend, Josh Loucks, 25, of Westminster had dinner with Sommer Brooks on Monday night. He said he did not know that Linda Carol Brooks was dead when he entered the home in the 4200 block of Holbrook Road, off Route 26 not far from Liberty Reservoir.

Loucks said they had gone to a T.G.I. Fridays restaurant to pick up dinner. Later that night, he said, he sat in the basement of the home with Sommer Brooks for about 45 minutes before she began to cry and told him about the fight that led to her mother's death.

"I've only known her about a week," Loucks said yesterday. "At first, I didn't really believe what she was saying."

But Loucks said he told her she needed to show him where her mother was and that she needed to call 911.

When Loucks saw Linda Carol Brooks lying on the floor of the bathroom, covered in a blanket with her head wrapped in a towel, he said he checked for a pulse but found none.

He and police say she told 911 operator that her mother had "overdosed." But Loucks said he got on the phone and told the operator it was a homicide and that police needed to come to the house as well.

"This was probably the strangest thing that's happened to me," Loucks said. "I don't think it's sunk in yet."

He said he had met Brooks through a mutual friend about a week ago. He said they weren't dating.

Though Loucks didn't want to discuss the details of Sommer Brooks' confession to him, he said she didn't seem to show much remorse. "She seemed more upset about what was going to happen to her next," he said.

Brooks remained held without bail yesterday at the Baltimore County Women's Detention Center.

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