A security guard who previously served as a US Marine — including a combat tour in Afghanistan — was fatally shot at a train station in St. Louis, police and relatives said.
James Cook, a 30-year-old MetroLink security officer, was pronounced dead early Sunday by paramedics after being shot by a male suspect at the Delmar Loop MetroLink station, police said.
Witnesses at the station gave investigators a description of the suspect who shot Cook – a married father of two — in the face, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Cook had spent eight years as a Marine handling supplies for special forces before being honorably discharged about four years ago, his mother-in-law told the newspaper.
“What is the irony of that?” Vickie Munton told the Post-Dispatch. “It’s just wrong.”
Munton said her son-in-law worked for a private security firm hired by MetroLink and trekked two hours roundtrip from Sullivan to St. Louis several times a week for his job, which paid $27 an hour, she said.
Cook was barred from carrying a gun while on the job, but relatives believe he was allowed to carry mace, Munton said.
“James was not afraid, and he didn’t say a lot,” his mother-in-law continued. “Once you’ve been through what he went through … I don’t think it concerned him all that much, but I knew this was a dangerous job and it concerned me greatly. It’s just terrible.”
Cook, who also spent time in Africa while a Marine, was shot by a suspect whom he confronted over a disturbance at the station, investigators reportedly said Sunday. He was found face down in a pool of blood atop steps that lead down to the station platform, the Post-Dispatch reported Monday.
An unconfirmed report indicates that Cook contacted the man earlier Sunday while on a MetroLink train where he was sleeping, according to the newspaper.
No arrests have been in the slaying as of Monday afternoon, a St. Louis police spokeswoman told The Post.
The suspect was described by police as a black male with light complexion, about 6 feet tall and weighing roughly 150 pounds. He was wearing black sweatpants, a blue face mask and a black hooded sweatshirt with orange letters that read “football,” police said.
A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the homicide.
“He was the greatest guy,” Pastor John Blackmore of Sullivan Christian Church, where Cook and his family worshipped, told KMOV.
An online fundraiser created to help offset Cook’s funeral costs had eclipsed $41,000 as of Monday afternoon.