By Jim Forbes, Publisher
PERRIS – What began as a routine competitive skirmish on a high school basketball court in Corona on January 24th, then quickly escalated without cause or reason, and is now described as a life-threatening event that was a near tragedy. And a Perris resident, has been charged with multiple felonies including 6 counts of “criminal threats of death or great bodily injury.”
In a tight intra-city Big VIII League girls’ basketball game between Corona Santiago and Centennial last month, with just over two-minutes remaining in regulation, a foul was called when players struggled for control of the ball. And some otherwise inconsequential pushing and grabbing followed.
But on a video shot by sports blogger and substacker James Escarcega, an adult male is seen quickly entering the court from the stands and throwing punches at players. He was bear-hugged by another male adult and pulled away with some difficulty.
Order was restored within a minute, but with tensions inflamed, the game was suspended and later declared a “No-Contest.”
Corona police had been called.
What was not disclosed publicly for about 10 days, what happened next, out of view from Escarcega’s lens was a life-threatening series of incidents in the Centennial parking lot.
Thaddis Lamont Brooks, 39, of Perris, has been arrested by Corona Police and on Monday was accused and charged with punching female athletes and then later threatening the lives of other students with a gun.
Brooks is charged with six counts of making criminal threats of death or great bodily injury, four counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, three counts of battery, two counts of brandishing a gun and one count each of possession of a firearm on school grounds, witness intimidation and being a felon in possession of a gun, with sentence-enhancing allegations of using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
According to Corona police Sgt. Jason Waldon, once the skirmish began at the end of the game, Brooks “punched several female athletes before being restrained.”
He alleged that Brooks then headed out of the gymnasium, stating that he intended to get a gun.
“The suspect walked to the parking lot and retrieved a handgun from his vehicle,” Waldon said.
“While in the parking lot, the suspect pointed the handgun at several students and threatened to shoot them. The suspect fled the area just before officers arrived at the school.”
Detectives followed up with witnesses and obtained additional evidence pointing to Brooks as the alleged assailant, according to Waldon.
He said a search warrant was obtained and served at the defendant’s residence on Chamberlain Creek Way, where officers took him into custody without incident and discovered more than 40 dogs on his property, showing signs of alleged mistreatment.
“The city of Perris Animal Control Services responded to the residence to investigate the animals’ welfare and determined there were animal cruelty factors present due to the conditions of the residence,” Waldon said.
No firearm was located at the property, he said. Animal control officers impounded the canines. According to court records, Brooks has several prior felony convictions in San Bernardino County.