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Family mourns loss of Marine who served in Afghanistan only to be slain in St. Louis

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Police said this man (right) is wanted for killing a uniformed security officer (left) at St. Louis’ Delmar MetroLink station on Jan. 31. Photos: Courtesy/St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Official

James Cook, the MetroLink security guard gunned down Sunday, served eight years as a U.S. Marine, including spending a year in Afghanistan where he saw combat.

The fact that he was shot dead in St. Louis, his mother-in-law said Monday, was particularly heartbreaking.

“What is the irony of that?” Vickie Munton of Sullivan told the Post-Dispatch. “It’s just wrong.”

Cook, 30, died after being shot in the face about 10 a.m. Sunday while he worked at the Delmar Loop MetroLink station. Police are searching for his killer.

Cook worked for a private security firm hired by MetroLink. He lived in Sullivan, Missouri, and made the two-hour roundtrip drive to St. Louis several days a week.

“Sometimes he would work double shifts and sleep a few minutes in his truck,” Munton said.

He worked to support his wife, Kimberlee Cook, and their two daughters, Zoey, 9, and Lydia, 5.

Munton said she was concerned about safety issues her son-in-law faced on the job but that he didn’t talk much about it.

“He was not allowed to carry any weapon at all,” Munton said. “James was not afraid, and he didn’t say a lot. Once you’ve been what he went through … “

“I don’t think it concerned him all that much, but I knew this was a dangerous job and it concerned me greatly. It’s just terrible.”

Munton said Cook’s employer, G4S Security Solutions, has not yet contacted his family. “We haven’t heard one word from them,” she said Monday.

The company could not be reached for comment.

He made $27 an hour working security, and his family thinks he was allowed to carry mace.

As a Marine, he worked supplies for special forces, Munton said. In addition to Afghanistan, he was deployed to Africa. After he was honorably discharged from the Marines about four years ago, Cook worked other jobs in law enforcement. One of those jobs was as a jailer for the Crawford County sheriff.

He enjoyed hunting and was active in his church in Sullivan. He also was “a very talented artist in woodworking,” Munton said. “And, I tell ya, the boy could draw like a professional.”

He drew murals on his daughters’ bedroom walls, including painting their names in different colors.

A GoFundMe has been set up. Cook had no life insurance, Munton said.

Meanwhile, CrimeStoppers increased its reward in the case. The reward is up to $25,000 for information leading to the killer’s arrest. The CrimeStoppers tips line is 866-371-8477. Tipsters can also call the St. Louis Police Department’s homicide investigators directly at 314-444-5371.

Cook was shot in the 700 block of Hodiamont Avenue. The suspect is described as a black man in his 40s who is 6-foot tall to 6-foot-3 and weighs 150 to 160 pounds.

The man has a graying beard and mustache, and his grayish hair protruded from a stocking cap Sunday. He who wore a black hooded sweatshirt with orange lettering that may reference a football team. He also wore a black coat and a dark blue gaiter-style face mask, and a stocking cap with orange lettering. He carried a black computer-type bag with straps.

Police said the man may have had contact with Cook earlier Sunday morning while on a MetroLink train. Police had an unconfirmed report that Cook contacted the man about sleeping on the train.

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