Darrell Brooks and Patrick Kane were childhood friends. They lived near each other in suburban Waukesha. The two men represented many different parts of their communities’ lives: Brooks, their high school coach. Kane, their neighbour and co-worker.
So when the two men learned that Brooks’ two teenage sons – one of whom, Brooks’ son, Kameron, had developed a skating rink in his family’s backyard – were attending another boy’s festival at a local basketball arena, both were devastated. They travelled to the event together, hoping to confront the boy who had teased their family about the skate rink.
At around 2:45 a.m. on the evening of Thursday, December 27, the family left, and Brooks and Kane began searching for their sons’ friends. It was not clear how long they were searching, but the pair “absolutely stopped,” Markus Frank, 18, a friend of Kameron Brooks, told police at the time of Brooks’ arrest. Frank told police that he had “plans” with the boy whom he accused of being the target of the family’s taunt.
To reach the boy and convince him to hang out with them, Frank stole a handgun from Brooks’ truck. But at some point, the boy told police, Frank decided to take it for a test drive and the two drove off. Frank turned the gun on himself, accidentally shooting himself in the chest. Brooks, who was driving the truck, told police that he did not shoot Frank.
That evening, Brooks and Kane left Waukesha at about 7:15 p.m. to meet with their son’s friends. They traveled to an apartment complex in Las Vegas, Nevada, about 40 miles west of Las Vegas, roughly a half-hour drive to a large casino and nightclub in Reno, where the boy they were looking for stayed for the night, Las Vegas police told The Washington Post.
Shortly after midnight on Saturday, December 29, the Brooks family picked up two men – allegedly the two brothers who were with Frank at the skate rink – and drove them to a remote area near a lake near Lake Oro Valley, some 90 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
There, Brooks and the older brother, Cole Konopinski, allegedly left Kameron Brooks and his 13-year-old sister and driven Brooks and a second brother to the lake and released them. Kameron Brooks and his sister apparently “chained” themselves to each other with zip ties and another zip tie around their necks, Las Vegas police told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Brooks was allegedly able to unlock the straps once.
Then, Brooks and the 13-year-old were allegedly able to lock themselves into a minivan and drive to a resort where they waited in Brooks’ van overnight. It was not clear why they waited that long.
When the group returned the next morning, Brooks, in connection with the shooting of his 19-year-old son, shot and killed Konopinski, his 13-year-old sister and 22-year-old Jason Wolf, an English teacher at High School of Commerce.
The Waukesha Register reported that the incident was the first fatality in the city since 1994.
After Brooks was charged with six counts of homicide, Frank and a friend, Christopher Brown, were charged with the robbery, kidnapping and attempted murder of Brooks’ two teenage sons, since those were the younger children’s names at the time.
Tensions are running high in the community. Fights broke out at one city council meeting over whether Brooks should be held without bail. Critics have asked why Brooks is not being tried as an adult. Other critics point to domestic violence protection documents that have been released about Brooks’ ex-wife and alleged heroin addict, Colleen.
Brooks and his lawyers have maintained that he had no knowledge of the killing of the three people.
But according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation, Frank admitted to investigators that he shot and killed Frank’s friend because he said the name “Kameron” in reference to another boy who Brooks had talked about sending to “kill” during the search for the boys at the skate rink. Frank’s mother told police that she believed, based on what Brooks told her, that Brooks was referring to the man’s son. Frank and his mother also said that Brooks said during the search that he had heard the man’s son had taken Brooks’ son’s skate rink and was planning to “kill” the man and his family.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.