ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A MetroLink security guard, working at the Delmar station, was shot and killed Sunday morning. The victim has been identified by family as James Cook, a husband and father of two.
“He was the greatest guy,” said Pastor John Blackmore, a family friend and pastor of Sullivan Christian Church where the Cooks attended. Blackmore says Cook served as a Marine before moving to Sullivan. He got work as a security guard to support his family. Friends started a GoFundMe page to help the Cook family.
A suspect is in custody after a MetroLink security guard was killed Sunday morning at the Delmar station, police sources confirm to News 4.
Cook and his wife were childhood sweethearts and were called great role models in the community.
"I think they met when they were in seventh of eighth grade and they've been together ever since. He joined the Marines and she followed," said Anthony Tucker, a friend of the family. "They love Jesus. They were very active in the church."
Cook, who served nine years in the Marines, reportedly worked with church youth and volunteered often. He left behind daughters who are five and nine years old.
"But when he came back here he just wanted to kind of just settle down, be a good father, be a great husband," Blackmore said. "I mean he loved his family. He loved Kim, loved [his children]. I mean they were his world."
BackStoppers says it will help Cook's family by providing them with $50,000 in assistance.
Officials with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said the shooting happened around 10 a.m. on Sunday. They say Cook approached the man about a disturbance before the suspect pulled out a gun and shot the guard, police said. Cook was unarmed. According to investigators, witnesses say the suspect, later identified as Nathanial Smith, may have had contact with Cook earlier in the morning after a possible violation related to sleeping on the train.
“Tragic. This is a tragic situation where an officer was doing his job or attempting to do his job and he was brutally shot,” said Lt. Col. Rochelle Jones.
“His loss is devastating. All of our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and those close to him,” Metro said in a statement. Cook was a contracted security guard working for G4S. “The MetroLink Police Task Force has pledged to enhance enforcement patrols on the Metro Transit system, starting immediately. Our region is challenged by these random acts of violence, and our transit community is not immune to their impact.”
Smith, 36, of Evans Place in St. Louis County is charged with Murder and Armed Criminal Action. Little is known about his background at this point.
News 4 has reported on security concerns on Metro for years. In 2020, Metro increased their partnership with police for more officers and hiring G4S to take over as security. According to Metro, G4S guards are not armed but carry pepper spray and batons.
There are numerous cameras around the Delmar MetroLink platform. The suspect was taken into custody Monday.
“We need community help to help us with this, if anybody saw anything that, if you saw anything please contact us," said Lt. Col. Jones.
Bi-State later released the following statement about the shooting:
This is a deeply sad and tragic day for Bi-State Development and Metro Transit. One of our team members, a contracted G4S security officer, was killed this morning due to an evil and senseless act of violence at the Delmar Loop Transit Center. His loss is devastating. All of our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and those close to him.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is actively investigating this crime, and our Public Safety team and MetroLink Police Task Force are providing any and all information and assistance available to aid in this investigation. The MetroLink Police Task Force has pledged to enhance law enforcement patrols on the Metro Transit system, starting immediately.
Our region is challenged by these random acts of violence, and our transit community is not immune to their impact. We are committed to working with our regional leaders and law enforcement partners to confront this crisis.
Although we are shaken by this unexplainable tragedy, our team will continue to do their important work and serve the transportation needs of our communities. These brave men and women deserve all of our support.