Monday, November 22, 2004


My mom is a retired elementary school teacher.  Periodically, she will give me news about the activities of some of her former students, some of whom I knew.  Last night the news was bad.  One of her former students is a US Marine serving in Iraq.  While he was battling terrorists in Fallujah, his wife - five months pregnant with their child - was shot in the head by some a$$hole in York, PA.
According to an article in the York Daily Record:
Cook traveled three sleepless nights from Fallujah, site of the most violent fighting of the Iraq war since the fall of Baghdad, to York Hospital to be by his wife's bedside. The Marine said he could only describe first seeing his wife in the hospital as "crippling."

Five days after Julia Cook had been shot in the parking lot of the Giant supermarket on Loucks Road in West Manchester Township, the 21-year-old woman remained in serious condition Friday afternoon in the intensive care unit.

Her husband said she seemed happy but a little disoriented.

She has undergone several surgeries and has more to endure, Justin Cook said at a news conference Friday evening at the hospital.

To add insult to injury, the shooting had no real motive.  The dimwit who did it just wanted to kill someone and Julia Cook happened to be walking out of the Giant supermarket in York at the wrong time.  More from the Daily Record:

Noel Gomez, 19, of York, was arrested Monday at a Manchester Township motel and charged with attempted homicide and other charges in the shooting. In court documents, police said the shooting was random. They said that Gomez told them he had planned to kill someone and selected Julia Cook from among shoppers at the Giant.

Gomez is being held in York County Prison without bail.

Let's hope that they lock this idiot up and throw away the key.  If he wants to kill someone so badly, there are plenty of opportunities to do so in a maximum security prison.  Of course you have to get up close and personal to do it there.  And your intended victims hit back...hard.  Maybe that's too daunting a task for poor little Noel.

The people of York, in a fashion typical of people all over the USA have rushed in to help out any way they can:

Among those helping the family is Lana Musti, who lives in a half-mile from the site of the shooting. Musti has set up an account at M&T Bank to collect donations to assist the Cooks.

When Musti heard of the shooting on Monday morning, she started making phone calls, using her contacts from the York County Chamber of Commerce and Women in Motion. Local businesses responded with gift certificates, hotel rooms and food.

"This community should be a stronghold in giving back," she said. "We are better than this, and we need to show that and give this family the feeling we are sorry and we are with them."

As Justin Cook spends time with his wife, his thoughts sometimes shift to the Marines still fighting in Iraq. Cook had been in Iraq for 3½ months and in the Marine Corps almost three years. Watching the news is difficult because he knows his "brothers" are still there, he said.

He said he cannot comment on how long he will be in York County or his specific duties in the Marines, but said he is not in the infantry.


A fund has been set up to help Julia Cook's family. Make checks payable to "For the Benefit of Julia Cook" and mail them to M&T Bank, 960 S. George St., York, PA 17403. Or inquire at other M&T locations.

If you happen to be praying, you might want to include one for Lance Cpl. and Mrs. Cook and their baby. 

You can read the whole story on the Record's website.

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