Nathaniel Smith

Nathaniel Smith, 36, is charged with fatally shooting James Cook, a MetroLink security guard Sunday at the Delmar station.

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) --  A suspect is in custody after a MetroLink security guard was killed Sunday morning at the Delmar station.

Police said Nathaniel Maurice Smith, 36, shot and killed James Cook, 30, multiple times Sunday morning after Cook approached the man about a disturbance. Smith, of the 4400 block of Evans Place, is charged with Murder and Armed Criminal Action, according to the Circuit Attorney's Office. He is being held without bond.

Officials with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released an image of the suspect hours after the fatal shooting. Police said the man was armed with a pistol.  According to a source, Smith turned himself in hours later at the North Hanley MeroLink station, which is a short walk from the Hilton Garden Inn, where police say he was staying.

Family and friends remembered Cook at a vigil Monday night.

“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. 

“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 with SLMPD.

“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.”

Cook was not armed with with a gun. Federal law prohibits private security guards from carrying guns on mass transit. In 2020, another MetroLink security guard told News 4 he was concerned about safety.

"I've seen homicides, I've seen shootings," he said.

Bi-State Development CEO Taulby Roach says he supports allowing the guards to be armed.

"We need to have fully trained weapons on the system, I agree with that," said Roach. "I just want them fully trained and I need a badge behind that."

Monday evening, Franklin County Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said he he thinks Bi-State should seek a change so guards can be armed.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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