The manhunt for double shooting suspect Alton Bruce Cooke ended Thursday afternoon when law enforcement officers from multiple agencies found Cooke’s body inside at Gassville home, according to a news release from Gassville Police Chief Tim Mayfield and Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery.
Authorities who’d tracked down several leads learned the 28-year-old Cooke was in a home in the 500 block of Kirkland Avenue in Gassville. They were told Cooke was armed with a handgun, according to the release.
At approximately 1:30 pm., two people inside the home told law enforcement officers Cooke had run into a back room of the home, armed with a handgun. Nearby homes were evacuated and the home was surrounded.
Law enforcement officers reportedly made several attempts to communicate with Cooke. At 5:30 p.m. the decision was made to enter the home. The Mountain Home Police Department’s special response team made the entry.
After deploying tear gas, the team made entry. They reportedly found Cooke in a barricaded room, dead from what law enforcement officials believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Officers reported finding a 9mm pistol in Cooke’s hand. His body will be transported to the state medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death, according to the news release.
Agencies involved in the search for Cooke include the Gassville Police Department, Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, Mountain Home Police Department, Arkansas Department of Corrections, U.S. Marshall’s Office and the Flippin Police Department.
The Wednesday shooting incident
At approximately 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, authorities say two people driving on AR Highway 178 West encountered Cooke, who was driving a black 2010 GMC Sierra truck as they turned north on Arkansas State Highway 5 North.
Cooke reportedly rammed their vehicle, and then a short distance later, rammed it a second time, causing the female driver to crash in a yard near the Midway Post Office. Cooke, who had a prior relationship with the female driver, reportedly shot multiple times into the car containing the woman and a man.
Both suffered gunshot wounds as a result, according to the news release. They were transported to Baxter Regional Medical Center where they were treated and later released, according to the sheriff.
Cooke reportedly fled the area following the shooting. He later crashed his truck in a wooded area, according to an update from the sheriff.
The search for Cooke in the Promise Land area was scaled back at approximately noon Wednesday, according to the sheriff, who said the Arkansas Department of Corrections absconder team joined in the search for Cooke.
Authorities conducted multiple interviews, received multiple tips and executed a search warrant on Cooke’s truck during the search.
Cooke’s criminal history
Cooke was a Level 3 registered sex offender, who was convicted of computer child pornography in 2013. He had sexually explicit conversations with a 14-year-old female stranger. During those conversations, he discussed meeting the girl to engage in sex.
Electronic court records show Cooke has been convicted of drug crimes as well as failing to register as a sex offender.
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