A man suspected of shooting and wounding a police officer during a weekend traffic stop was homeless and driving a stolen SUV when he was pulled over, Albuquerque Police Chief Gordon Eden said Tuesday.
The manhunt for Christopher Cook, 36, proved difficult because he had been moving around, and acquaintances severed ties with him, Eden said during a news conference.
Cook was arrested early Tuesday after Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies saw him staggering on a street near Albuquerque and went to check on him because of cold temperatures, authorities said.
He was taken into custody and later linked through fingerprints and DNA to the shooting of Officer Lou Golson, Eden said.
“If these deputies had not taken the initiative to engage with (Cook), we’d still be looking for him,” Eden said.
Golson was shot multiple times as he tried to question Cook early Saturday during a stop on suspected drunken driving, Eden said.
Video footage from Golson’s lapel camera shows a motorist opening a driver door and firing shots at Golson as the officer grunts and falls to the ground.
Golson then unloads eight shots into a door of the motorist’s silver Isuzu, which police say was stolen. After that, the man is seen fleeing the scene.
According to criminal complaints, Golson suffered a gunshot wound in the abdomen.
A gunshot to the chest and two other gunshots to his left side did not penetrate his bulletproof vest, the complaint said. However, Golson broke a left femur and suffered a broken wrist during his fall.
Golson is listed in stable condition following surgery, but he will need additional surgeries, police said.
Golson and his family were told Tuesday that authorities had made an arrest in the shooting, and they were “greatly relieved,” Eden said.
Police said investigators still don’t know if the shooting was targeted or a random act.
Cook has a long criminal history involving drugs and aggravated assaults, and was released from prison about a year ago after serving time for multiple violent felonies, court documents showed.
No lawyer for Cook was listed in online court records.
Cook also had arrest warrants related to the theft of the Isuzu Ascender. Police said he stole the vehicle hours before the shooting after he told a used car dealer he wanted to test drive it.
Cook faces a number of state and federal charges, including attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
He told reporters as he left Albuquerque police headquarters for jail Tuesday that he didn’t know why he shot Golson, then said he didn’t do anything.
“I don’t remember Saturday,” Cook said. “I haven’t slept in two weeks.”