Man punched several girls' basketball players during game, brandished a gun, police say

CORONA, CA - JUNE 10, 2021: Corona Centennial teammates Jayda Curry (30), Trinity San Antonio (23), middle, and Bella Law (2) console each other after losing to Mater Dei in overtime in the Southern Section Open Division Championship on June 10 2021 in Corona, California.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
After an overtime loss in 2021, members of the Centennial High girls' basketball team console one another. The team was involved in an incident last month in which a man came out of the stands and threw punches. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

It all started with a scuffle during a girls' basketball game last month at Centennial High School in Corona.

Players from the opposing teams — the Centennial High Huskies and the Santiago High School Sharks — tussled for the ball after a foul was called. A few players shoved one another.

Then, police say, a man jumped out of the stands, ran onto the court and punched several of the girls.

After someone else in the crowd restrained him, he walked to his car in the parking lot, pulled out a handgun, pointed it at several students and threatened to shoot them, Corona police said in a statement. He fled just before officers arrived.


The Corona Police Department on Friday identified the man as Thaddis Brooks, 39, of Perris.

Brooks was arrested at his home on Thursday on suspicion of making criminal threats, brandishing a deadly weapon, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing a firearm on school grounds and child abuse.

Booking records show that Brooks is being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside in lieu of $350,000 bail and that he has a court appearance scheduled for Monday.

According to San Bernardino County Superior Court records, Brooks has several felony convictions.

He pleaded guilty in 2006 to battery causing serious bodily injury, and he pleaded guilty in 2009 to making criminal threats. He also pleaded guilty to multiple drug possession charges over the years.

During a search of Brooks' home in Perris on Thursday, authorities did not find any firearms, the Police Department said in a statement.

Corona Police Sgt. Jason Waldon said in an email to The Times on Friday that Brooks was "related to a player on one of the teams" playing in the Jan. 24 game at Centennial High School. He said the Police Department was not naming which team.

Waldon said that Brooks injured three girls, ages 16 and 17, on the basketball court.

"While in the parking lot, the suspect pointed his handgun at several more female students and threatened to shoot them," Waldon said. Those girls, he said, were ages 13 to 17.

The Corona-Norco Unified School District said in a statement Friday that the girls' basketball game was in the fourth quarter when the melee began.

"This incident was extremely upsetting and we want to make it clear that CNUSD does not stand for any behavior that threatens the safety of our students, staff, or community," the district said.

The district said it would be implementing additional safety measures at indoor athletic events, including increased law enforcement and staff presence and metal detectors. No reentry will be allowed for people who leave, and bags will be subject to searches.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.