After week-long manhunt, Kentucky residents can 'breathe easier'
The fervent search for convicted rapist Ray Cook had residents along the Kentucky-Tennessee border on edge. Area schools were closed for three days as officers combed the area.
A massive Kentucky and Tennessee manhunt ended in a shootout early Friday.
Floyd Ray Cook was wanted by police for allegedly shooting a police officer and opening fire on a Kentucky state trooper. He was killed in south-central Kentucky after being located by law enforcement and engaging in a shootout, Billy Gregory, the Kentucky State Police public affairs officer, told The Associated Press.
Two state troopers and a federal marshal found Mr. Cook hiding in an embankment south of Burkesville, Ky. Cook was armed with a handgun and engaged the police. No officers were wounded in the exchange, and Cook was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cook had been eluding police for the past week. It began Saturday afternoon, after he was pulled over for a traffic stop in Tennessee. Police say Cook shot the officer during the traffic stop and fled to Kentucky.
An hour later, Cook was confronted by a Kentucky State Police trooper who recognized the vehicle. Police say Cook opened fire on the trooper after crashing the car, then fled once again. The state trooper was unharmed.
Authorities believed they had located him late Wednesday after a car associated with Cook was spotted at a gas station in Tennessee, Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Miller told The Associated Press.
After approaching the car, the driver attempted to flee, rammed two police cruisers, and almost collided with an officer on foot, according to the US Marshals Service.
After driving into a ravine, the driver and passenger of the car fled, Miller told the AP. Neither turned out to be the fugitive, but they were close associates, Katy McCarty and her boyfriend, Troy Wayne. Both were arrested on suspicion of engaging in a shootout with police officers at a gas station.
Cook had a history of rape, robbery, burglary, assault, and riot convictions. He was wanted in Hardin County in relation to methamphetamine trafficking and tampering with evidence.
Cook’s presence in the border area between Kentucky and Tennessee put residents on edge. Authorities described him as “armed, dangerous and desperate,” and schools in the area shut down for three days in the past week over concerns about the fugitive.
“I think they’ll all breathe easier knowing there’s no longer a threat,” Mr. Gregory said Friday.
This report includes material from The Associated Press and Reuters.