For a Portsmouth family, the holidays bring joy and pain as the murder of Dominique Brooks remains unsolved


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Lakisha Brooks spends many lonely nights in front of a screen looking at the scores of videos on social media that have carefully chronicled the sports events — football and basketball –where her son Dominique Brooks made her proud.

In 2018, he made history for Indian River High School when he was named 1st Team quarterback and Offensive Player of the Year for the Southeastern District. In Brooks’ post-game interview with reporters, he explained what a victory over Oscar Smith meant to the entire team.

(WAVY photo/ Regina Mobley)

“Coach told us from the jump that this probably was the best team he ever coached,” Brooks said.

The holidays have tested this family’s strength. When asked about the first holiday season without her son, Brooks still speaks of Dominique in the present tense.

“Just to wake up and he’s not here to celebrate Thanksgiving … that’s something he looks forward to every year.”

On December 8, the 21st birthday Dominique shared with twin brother Dontae, the festivities were bittersweet. The Brooks family had planned a special celebration for the twins at a time when so many of their peers have been taken by violence or incarceration.

(Photo courtesy: Lakisha Brooks)

It never occurred to her that Oct. 1, gunfire would end the life of a young man who not only had the tools to survive, but the total package needed to thrive.

“He was well-grounded … from a good family… a student-athlete and honors college student,” said his mother as she stood next to a welcome sign at her front door that read “No place like home for the holidays.”

Brooks described the pain she experienced on Christmas Day.

“I woke up and it hit me that I can’t go in his room and say ‘c’mon Dominique let’s go downstairs,'” she said.

New Year’s Day will bring more pain; the first day of the year will mark three months since her son’s death.

“Just to know that January 1 — a new year without him — three months … it is hurtful,” said Brooks while fighting back tears.

The family now questions the professionalism of the police department. Their concerns started the day after Dominique was killed on the roof of a parking garage that serves The NEXT apartment buildings for college students who attend nearby universities.

On the crime scene, near the spot where Dominique died, loved ones say they found a shell casing that is clearly marked “.40 Smith and Wesson Winchester.”

Almost three months later, Brooks says when she hears from Norfolk police, the information is, at times, in conflict. For example, a detective reportedly told her there’s rooftop surveillance video that shows partial license plates of possible getaway cars and police are waiting on DMV information. Brooks says a corporal later contradicted the detective by saying the only video is from the ground floor as cars entered and exited the garage.

“A lot of mismatched information and getting different stories from this detective and this one telling me opposite things. It’s not adding up to what they are saying. It’s not coming together … in the last three weeks, we’ve been calling and can’t get a hold of hardly anyone to give us any information,” she said.

Brooks also says she has been told two officers who are investigating the case have been placed on medical leave.

“There’s no sense of urgency with the Norfolk Police Department for finding who killed my son,” Brooks said.

Norfolk police usually do not offer any public comments on ongoing criminal investigations.

Those with information can submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-888-LOCK-U-UP, downloading the P3 tips app to a mobile device, or visiting and submitting a tip.

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