Suspect in Washington homicide arrested at Southeast Portland gym
PORTLAND, Ore. – The suspect wanted for a Lakewood, Washington-area homicide case was arrested Monday outside of a gym in Southeast Portland, law enforcement officials said.
Police say the suspect, identified as 31-year-old Thomas Earl Cooper Junior, was spotted at the 24 Hour Fitness on Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard.
He was taken into custody shortly before noon.
Authorities say they found a loaded gun in the locker he was using at the gym.
Matthew Garvin was working out in the gym when Portland police officers rushed in to arrest Cooper.
"They ran in there. They ran in there, all from directions. From the right of me. From behind me. All from the left. They just kind of swarmed in like an attack," said Garvin, who added that Cooper also seemed surprised to see police. "Yeah, he was like facing the street and the window. Just looked like he was kind of minding his own business. He was like right in front of me earlier. Didn't really seem like much was going on other than him just doing his workout routine."
Lakewood police confirmed Monday night that the case involved a nightclub shooting in that community south of Tacoma last fall.
At about 1:30 a.m. on October 21, 2018, Lakewood police officers responded to reports of a shooting at the New World VIP Lounge in Lakewood and found a number of people who'd been shot near the nightclub's entrance.
In a November 1 press release, the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office revealed several of the victims, including 28-year-old Terrance King who died in the shooting, were shot in the back.
The Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said 30-year-old Monroe James Ezell was charged with second-degree manslaughter in connection with the shooting.
Surveillance and cellphone video from the shooting scene helped police investigators in Lakewood, Seattle and Portland identify the suspects, but information that the same group had visited another nightclub earlier in that night led to even better evidence identifying the suspects.
"Video from Latitude 84 was much better and with the help of Seattle Police and Portland Police, investigators were able to identify the defendant, Monroe Ezell, as a suspect in the New World VIP shooting and member of the '74 Hoover Crips' street gang in Portland," the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said in the release.
Lakewood police Lieutenant Chris Lawler says that with Cooper's arrest all but one of the suspects connected to that shooting are now in custody.
Cooper was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a loaded firearm in public. He is also being held on the out-of-state warrant.
Another Portland case Cooper was tied to that involved an armored Mercedes Benz: