Apalachicola police arrested a man after he allegedly fired gunshots that struck two vehicles and a residence in the Apalachicola Housing Authority Monday afternoon, Oct. 10.
James Edgar “Jimmy” Cooper, 51, has been charged with six counts of attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer, two counts of criminal mischief, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and discharging a firearm in public. He is being held in the county jail without bond.
At approximately 4:04 p.m. Apalachicola police were dispatched to Cooper’s residence at 151 15th Street in reference to shots being fired.
Investigation of the incident indicated Cooper had gotten into a verbal argument with his neighbor, Maurice Miller, 39, over issues involving the two families’ children.
“It was a domestic dispute that had not been resolved and Mr. Cooper for some reason decided to take action on his own,” said Steve Lanier, director of the Apalachicola Housing Authority.
Police said during the altercation, Cooper returned to his residence and retrieved a 270 caliber bolt action rifle and fired five rounds, striking inside Miller’s two unoccupied vehicles as well as his residence, which was occupied at the time.
One bullet was fired through Miller’s front door, and a fragment of the bullet struck Miller in his chest, police said. Miller was treated at Weems Memorial Hospital and released.
After the shooting Cooper returned to his residence where he was met by Apalachicola Police Officer Chase Richard, who placed him under arrest and transported him to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. Police said prior to the arrest, Cooper made threats upon Richard’s life.
Lanier said he has removed Cooper from the lease, and sent word to the family that he is not allowed back on the premises. “He cannot return under any circumstances,” Lanier said.
He said Cooper’s wife, Deborah, and the couple’s five children, have been model tenants, with no record of disturbance. “Deborah Cooper tried to stop him from going out the door with the gun,” Lanier said.
She told Lanier the gun, a deer hunting rifle, was registered to her, and was kept locked up. Lanier said the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development does no prohibit the lawful possession of firearms within its units. “None of the regulations I have says you can’t have a gun,” he said.
Lanier said nearby residents who heard the shots and saw Cooper outside with the rifle were terrified at what they were seeing.
“They told me ‘we thought he was going door-to-door killing people,’” he said. “We’re not going to allow that here.”
Lanier said he has spoken with Miller, who told him he is recovering well.