• 61°

Officer’s family remembers him as loving protector

The family of Brookhaven Police Department Lt. Marzell Brooks remembers the veteran officer as a loving, protective person.

Brooks died Sunday night from COVID-19-related causes, according to BPD Chief Kenneth Collins.

A 28-year veteran of the department, Brooks also served as a school resource officer for Brookhaven School District.

Brooks’ cousin Jerry Kelly Jr., a pastor in Byram, said the officer’s love defined him.

“I want to express how much he loved his family and loved God,” Kelly said.

Brooks was one of eight children — four boys and four girls — and the last of the brothers. All of the sisters are still alive. The youngest brother, Darien Brooks, died in September from a heart attack; he also had COVID.

His sister Daisy Brooks- Thomas said Brooks wanted to be a police officer since he was very young.

“He would take his toy cars and make police lights for the tops of them,” his Brooks-Thomas said. “When our father died — we were very young — former Chief Arlustra ‘Pap’ Henderson took Marzell under his wing and he helped Marzell become a police officer. I am so thankful to Chief Henderson for doing that, that he helped make his dream come true. And he was a good one, too.”

“He was our protector. He watched out for all of us,” said Tonya Brooks, another of the officer’s sisters. “He drove by to check on us every day. He worked with my son and kept him out of trouble. He protected us. That was his job, but as his family, he made sure we were all OK.”

“He was my heart. He will be missed dearly,” Brooks-Thomas said. “He died doing what he loved most — being a police officer. He loved his family and he was loved.”

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made, the family said.