Christopher Cook, the man accused of shooting Albuquerque police officer Lou Golson, is a meth addict, according to his former friends and police.
At his perpetrator walk Tuesday morning after being arrested, Cook answered a KOB reporter’s question of what happened Saturday morning by saying, “I don’t know, I don’t remember from Saturday. I haven’t slept in two weeks.”
Albuquerque substance abuse counselor Ron Timmcke hasn’t met Cook or treated him, but believes that statement could be a sign of meth addiction.
“Two areas are affected by meth use,” Timmcke said. “One is short term memory and the other one is the frontal lobe, executive functions, decision making, impulse control – that type of thing.”
KOB also showed Timmcke Cook’s mug shots that were taken over the years. In the most recent ones, he appears to have lost weight. The change in appearance points to another possible consequence of drug use.
“One of the things that’s happening is the person is not making decision to eat, so the long they’re on the drugs – the meth or stimulants of that type – the lower and lower the weight will go,” Timmcke said. “Over the time period, they don’t eat and they don’t maintain their nutrition.”
Cook also has an extensive criminal history – no drug charges, but lots of property crime and theft charges.
“A drug addict needs to support their habit, so a lot of the property crimes that are committed in Albuquerque and around the nation are people that are responding to their addiction and using property crimes to support that addiction.”
Timmcke speculated that Cook didn’t have any drug charges on his record because he simply hadn’t been caught.
Police work and a lucky break lead to shooting suspect’s capture
Two Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies were finishing a routine traffic stop in the North Valley early Tuesday morning when they saw a man staggering down the street.
They decided to check whether he was OK and got more than they bargained for.
He was the most wanted man in Albuquerque.
That put an end to a massive, three-day, multi-agency manhunt for the suspect in the shooting of veteran Albuquerque police officer Lou Golson.
Christopher Cook, 36, shot Golson four times at close range during a DWI stop near San Mateo Boulevard and San Mateo Lane early Saturday morning, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court. The officer was seriously injured, but he survived.
Early on, investigators keyed in on the gun used in the shooting and left at the scene. They tested it for DNA and on Monday night got a hit – Cook had a lengthy police record.
They had an ID. Now they needed to find him.
The statewide search was underway when the deputies ran across him walking southbound on Edith Boulevard near Montaño Road around 4 a.m. Tuesday.
“Based on the temperature, deputies went to check on the welfare of the individual,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Aaron Williamson said.
Cook had a large screwdriver in his pocket and was dressed in a dark-colored hoodie and jeans. He was carrying no identification and provided the deputies with false names and birth dates.
But they recognized him as the shooting suspect, Williamson said. They verified Cook’s name when he was fingerprinted, and BCSO turned him over to APD.
Cook was escorted past news photographers and reporters into the Prisoner Transport Center after police interviewed him Tuesday morning. When asked by a reporter what happened Saturday morning, Cook said he didn’t remember.
“I don’t know, I don’t remember Saturday. I haven’t slept in two weeks,” he said.
Cook was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center and charged with attempted murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm, shooting from a motor vehicle and receiving and transferring a stolen vehicle.
Cook is also facing a federal charge. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives filed a criminal complaint in federal court Tuesday, charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Police said he will be transferred to federal custody to face that charge.
Cook could face up to a lifetime in prison if he is found guilty of being an armed career criminal, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Cook was released from prison about a year ago and has a violent criminal past. Police also say he has a history of drug abuse.
Details of the shooting
At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden provided more details of the shooting and the investigation that led to Cook’s capture.
“Officer Golson approaches the vehicle, the car door opens, and the suspect opens fire, firing multiple rounds from a handgun at officer Golson,” Eden said. “Officer Golson was shot multiple times, and he falls to the ground as a result of being shot.”
Eden said the suspect fired five shots and Golson returned fire with eight shots. The gunman then ran north on San Mateo.
Golson called police dispatchers, saying he had been shot, and a team from the Albuquerque Fire Department arrived on scene to provide emergency aid, Eden said.
“Ah, it hurts, it (expletive) hurts,” Golson says as two officers arrive and check the SUV for the shooter, according to the lapel video.
Eden said fingerprints were found on the exterior of the stolen Isuzu that Cook allegedly was driving and on a Johnnie Walker bottle of Scotch.
Investigators gathered DNA evidence from the 9 mm semi-automatic handgun left inside the SUV and matched it to Cook’s DNA. Bullet casings found at the scene matched the gun, Eden said.
Police say Cook had stolen the SUV from That Car Place, at Wyoming and Marquette NE, on Jan. 2 after asking to test-drive it.
According to the criminal complaint detailing the state’s charges against Cook, surveillance footage near the scene of the shooting showed the suspect fleeing, but the quality wasn’t high enough to identify him.
However, police showed a still image from the lapel footage to Cook’s brother, who said it looked like him.
Eden said Golson underwent surgery Saturday. One of the shots went through his left side and broke his left femur, according to the complaint. Three shots hit his bulletproof vest causing bruises, and he broke his wrist during the fall.
“This morning, when officer Golson was contacted that Cook had been arrested, I can tell you the family was greatly relieved,” he said.
Eden said he was visiting Golson on Monday night, when a young man came to the hospital to wish him well.
“It was actually a young man he had issued a traffic citation to. He wanted to make sure that the officer knew that the community was thinking of him, that their thoughts and prayers were with him, and I think that speaks to the nature of our community,” Eden said.
Sheriff Manny Gonzales also spoke at the news conference.
“This was a very personal matter, not only for the department but for myself,” he said. “I worked with officer Golson when he was on the SWAT team for the Albuquerque Police Department. His son is a new graduate of our academy. So it became very personal to our agency.”