Police Search Kentucky Woods After ‘Dangerous’ Fugitive Reportedly Spotted

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Fugitive who shot at police seen in Kentucky.

WHITE HOUSE, Tenn. BURKESVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Here are the latest developments in the search for a man accused of shooting at law officers in Tennessee and Kentucky (all times local): Floyd Ray Cook is seen in an undated photo provided by the Kentucky State Police.

LOUISVILLE — A manhunt for a fugitive accused of opening fire at police officers three times in two different states continued for a sixth day Thursday, continuing a search that has closed schools and stretched across a wide swath of this region. Police were using helicopters and thermal-imaging cameras to search a wooded area in Cumberland County, near where Cook allegedly shot at an officer over the weekend.

Cook was released on a $75,000 partially secured bond, but a month later, he failed to appear in Hardin County Circuit Court, so a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Cook, a convicted rapist and robber, has been on the run since Saturday afternoon, when authorities say he shot and wounded Algood, Tennessee, police Officer Ahscari Valencia during a traffic stop. On Saturday afternoon in Algood, Tenn. — a small town on Interstate 40 midway between Nashville and Knoxville — Ahscari Valencia, an Algood police officer, pulled over a black Ford F-150 because a search of the plates revealed that its driver was wanted in Kentucky.

As Valencia approached the truck, police said, Cook pulled a handgun and fired multiple shots, striking Officer Valencia in the abdomen, a wound that could have been fatal if not for Valencia’s bulletproof vest. “Officer Valencia is doing fine and looking forward to getting back to regular duty,” said Beth Nelson, spokeswoman for the Putnam County Sheriff Office. Just over an hour later, a Kentucky State Police trooper recognized Cook’s car and tried to stop him in rural Cumberland County, just beyond the Tennessee state line. Schools are open in Robertson County, Tennessee, but district spokesman Jim Bellis says schools in the White House area have a “heightened sense of screening” anyone on school property.

An investigator spotted a car associated with Cook at a gas station in White House, Tennessee, just off Interstate 65 north of Nashville, said Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. A marshal, believing Cook to be in the car, approached and the driver attempted to speed away, ramming two police cruisers and narrowly missing an officer on foot, the U.S.

On Monday, the Cumberland County School District cancelled classes because Kirk Biggerstaff, the superintendent, said he didn’t want kids waiting at bus stops in sparsely populated wooded areas with an armed fugitive on the loose. For that crime, he was sentenced to life at Eddyville State Penitentiary, but was paroled at some point before Dec. 7, 1978, when he was arrested again for second degree assault.

On Thursday, June 16, 1988, Cook was one of eight inmates who escaped from Eddyville in what has been called, “The Great Escape of ’88.” Cook was apprehended near the prison, as were two others, while the remaining five escapees fled to Tennessee where they executed an elderly couple as part of their escape. They later found Wayne, whom police identified earlier this week as Cook’s friend from Raywick, Kentucky, a town of 134 people 50 miles south of Louisville where Cook was last known to live.

Cook, with a criminal record that includes burglary, assault and rioting, was already wanted by the law before his alleged shooting spree last weekend. She and Cook were separated as young children after they witnessed their mother’s murder in December 1960 at the hands of their stepfather; their father had gone blind and committed suicide a few years before. Several months ago, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, making routine checks on the sex offenders in the county, discovered he was no longer living there, said Sheriff Jimmy Clements.

Cook was also indicted in July on charges of first-degree trafficking in methamphetamine and tampering with physical evidence, according to Hardin County court records in Kentucky. After a massive police presence arrived in the area, police say they apprehended Cook’s associate, Troy Wayne, and a female associate, Katie McCarty. Throughout the night, helicopters and SWAT teams scoured the rural Tennessee neighborhood looking for Cook as residents fretted about the situation on social media. Cook is facing first degree attempted murder charges in Kentucky and Tennessee as a result of the shootings at police in both states, in addition to the meth charge and parole violation. “My prayers now are that he harm no one and that he be given a last chance to surrender to the authorities.

A calm voice could talk him down,” his sister said. “My heart is broken because I have lost him over and over again, but I will always love him.”

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