Fugitive who shot at police seen in Kentucky
WHITE HOUSE, Tenn. (AP) — A Kentucky fugitive accused of shooting at police in two states was spotted again Thursday when he showed up at a house and asked for a ride.
Floyd Ray Cook, 62, has eluded police for six days despite a massive, interstate manhunt.
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 visited the home in the afternoon, but the resident recognized him and called police, Kentucky State Police Trooper Billy Gregory said. Cook spotted an arriving cruiser and ran off into the woods, Gregory said.
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. Valencia was saved by his bulletproof vest.
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. Cook tried to speed away, but wrecked and jumped from the truck on foot. He allegedly opened fire on the officer, missed and ran into the woods.
Authorities believed they had zeroed in on him late Wednesday. 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. Bill Miller.
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. Marshals Service said. An officer fired at the car.
The car careened down a dead-end street, through a fence and into a ravine, Miller said. The two occupants fled on foot into the surrounding cornfields, he said. But neither turned out to be Cook.
Two of Cook’s known associates, Katy McCarty, 35, and her boyfriend, 50-year-old Troy Wayne, were found, arrested and being held as fugitives.
The search team first found McCarty, drenched in water and mud in the field, Miller said. 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. He was convicted of raping a 19-year-old in Marion County, Kentucky, in 1971, records show. He was required to register as a sex offender and remains on parole.
Cook’s sex offender registration form lists an address in Lebanon, Kentucky. 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. Deputies there took out a warrant for his arrest and started searching for him. They discovered he was living at an address in Raywick. They staked out the home but were never able to catch him.
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. He was scheduled for arraignment in August but did not appear. He is now also wanted on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer in Tennessee.
A swath of the border between Kentucky and Tennessee has been gripped with fear of the man authorities described as “armed, dangerous and desperate.”
Schools reopened Thursday in the Cumberland County district after classes were called off for three days this week out of fear that students might cross Cook’s path. Cook was spotted last Sunday in Cumberland County, which borders Tennessee.
The school district said security was boosted, with an increased law enforcement presence.
Schools also were open Thursday in Robertson County, Tennessee.