Slain man was known as a good Samaritan

City resident, 33, stabbed attempting to stop a fight

March 11, 2003|By Reginald Fields | Reginald Fields,SUN STAFF

Martan David Brooks was known for jumping in the middle of fights armed only with kind words, even if the quarreling was between strangers and didn't involve him, his friends said.

"He was just like that. When me and my husband get into it, [Brooks] would jump right in and say, `Y'all don't need to fight,'" said Sheila Jeffers, a friend of Brooks. "He was just a very spirited, beautiful person. Once he knew you, he treated you like you were his family."

Brooks, 33, of the 1300 block of Carroll St. in Pigtown was fatally stabbed Sunday when he tried to stop a fight between his niece and her boyfriend not far from Brooks' home. The boyfriend stabbed Brooks once in the chest, police said, and Brooks died less than an hour later at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Police said they were seeking the niece to question her about what happened. She left the scene with her boyfriend after the stabbing, police said. No one has been charged, but police say they believe they know the identity of the killer.

Police would not release the names of the niece and suspect.

Jeffers said she had seen Brooks about 30 minutes before the stabbing and told her husband, James Jeffers, that Brooks was around the corner waiting to see him.

Brooks and James Jeffers were friends who saw each other once or twice a month.

"We hung together, we laughed together, we drank beer together. He was just a fun-loving guy who didn't bother anybody," James Jeffers said. "Anyone would like him."

When Jeffers got near Carroll and Bayard streets, where he was to meet Brooks, all he saw were police cars, a jacket lying in the street and blood running underneath a parked car toward the curb.

He later found out it was the spot where Brooks fell after being wounded.

"When I heard how it happened, I wasn't surprised at all," James Jeffers said. "It was just like him to try to help. I'm just surprised somebody would kill him because he was a peaceful person."

The Jeffers couple said Brooks sometimes lived in Pigtown with his girlfriend but also had a home in East Baltimore.

Sun staff writer Del Quentin Wilber contributed to this article.

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