Ohio officer wary after break-in
BY LILY GORDON
A Columbus police officer and father of two children is feeling "incredibly grateful" after a break-in of his North Columbus home.
The officer said he apprehended David E. Brooks, a registered sex offender, after chasing him through his neighborhood on Feb. 19. He believes Brooks, 41, of 4015 Sixth Ave., mistook him for an officer who wrote him a traffic ticket a few weeks ago and broke into his house to get even with him.
The officer has asked that his identity and address remain anonymous in order to protect his family.
The family dog began growling around midnight that Sunday.
The officer said that his wife heard the dog and then heard another noise. She got out of bed and went to check on their sleeping children. While in the hall, she saw a light go on and off in the kitchen downstairs and immediately woke her husband.
Still half-asleep and not really believing his wife, the officer went downstairs and started checking each room. In the kitchen, he found himself face to face with the intruder. He screamed at the man, who then ran out the back door.
Wearing only his underwear, the officer sprinted after the man, he said, chasing him through two backyards before returning to the house to check on his wife. By that time his wife had called 911.
The officer felt the intruder might still be out prowling the neighborhood so, after pausing to put on a pair of pants, he went out armed with a pistol. At this time, he said, he was able to switch gears from being a dad and a husband to an officer of the law.
While walking up and down the street, being careful to dodge the revealing glow of the early morning streetlights, the officer noticed a car he had never seen before.
Moments later he heard a noise and, he said, saw Brooks take off running. The officer chased him for about 20 yards and caught him at the end of the street, he said. He then held Brooks, who was struggling to get away but not fighting him, until a car came down the street. He attempted to flag the car down but knew that since he was not in uniform the driver probably would not stop.
He kept a firm grip on Brooks and waited. Soon after the first car passed, another car came down the road. This time the officer stepped out in front of it, still holding Brooks, and identified himself to the driver. The car drove away, but the driver did call 911 with the officer's location, he later found out.
The officer's two children did not wake up during the break-in and subsequent chase and capture, he said. They do not know what happened that night in their home.
"I chose this life," said the officer, "but my kids, they have no choice."
The officer and his wife are still reeling from the fact that David Brooks was convicted of child molestation in 1996. Brooks is being held at the Muscogee County Jail charged with burglary.
"I'm just like anybody else," the officer said. "When I come home, I want to cook out, watch a football game, spend time with my family. I don't want my work to come home with me.
"I've seen some awful things doing this job. I've seen traffic accidents, murders, suicides, but once it starts to come home with me it is unacceptable."