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Wichita police seek information in unsolved killing

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, at 8:14 p.m.

Nearly four years ago, an unknown man fired a shotgun, fatally wounding 19-year-old Justin Cook.

Police say Cook and his girlfriend were invited to a family party on Jan. 25, 2009, at Cambridge Suites, 711 S. Main in Wichita. When the couple arrived, they were unaware that a second party was going on across the parking lot.

Some gang members who showed up didn’t know there were two gatherings, either. That mistake led to an argument between members of a rival gang who were at the party.

As the fight broke up, Cook and his girlfriend pulled out of the parking lot in a car. The man approached and fired a shotgun once through the passenger-side window, striking Cook’s face. He was pronounced dead at a Wichita hospital shortly after his girlfriend, who was driving, called 911.

Police are still looking for the gunman.

Crime Stoppers of Wichita/Sedgwick County is offering $2,000 — twice its normal reward — for new information leading to an arrest in Cook’s death. The cold-case homicide is the third recently featured by Crime Stoppers and the Wichita Police Department in an effort to renew public interest in the crimes and encourage witnesses to come forward.

A different case will be showcased weekly through Dec. 28.

“There (were) two large parties going on out there,” Wichita police Lt. Todd Ojile said of Cook’s cold case. “You know, there could have been 30 to 50 people involved at the two different parties that were also outside during the fight. So we know there’s someone out there who knows who did this.”

The gunman’s motive is unknown. Cook was not a gang member and was not involved in the night’s fight, Ojile said.

“The only information we have on the suspect is that he was possibly wearing a light-colored hoodie, blue jeans, was an unknown-race male, approximate five-foot-ten inches tall, skinny build,” he said.

Tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111, www.wsccs.com or by texting TIP127 plus a message to 274637 (CRIMES). Information may also be called in toll free at 800-222-8477 (TIPS). Tipsters remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest.

Reach Amy Renee Leiker at 316-268-6644 or aleiker@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amyreneeleiker.

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