BURKESVILLE, Ky. » A fugitive accused of shooting a Tennessee police officer and firing at a Kentucky trooper was killed in a shootout with authorities early today, ending a nearly weeklong manhunt.
Floyd Ray Cook, 62, was pronounced dead at the scene in south-central Kentucky after being confronted by state troopers and a federal marshal who were searching an embankment, Kentucky State Police public affairs officer Billy Gregory told The Associated Press.
Cook was armed with a handgun and exchanged gunfire with the officers south of Burkesville, Gregory said. He was wounded and pronounced dead at the scene. No officers were injured.
The manhunt for Cook began after he was accused of shooting and wounding an Algood, Tennessee, police officer during a traffic stop last Saturday afternoon. He fled in a black Ford truck.
Just over an hour later, a Kentucky State Police trooper recognized Cook’s vehicle and tried to stop him in rural Cumberland County, just beyond the Tennessee state line, authorities said. Cook tried to speed away, but wrecked and jumped from the truck on foot. He allegedly opened fire on the officer, missed and ran into the woods.
A swath of the border between Kentucky and Tennessee had since been gripped with fear of the man authorities described as "armed, dangerous and desperate."
With Cook no longer on the loose, residents in the area would be able to return to their normal lives, Gregory said.
"I think they’ll all breathe a little bit easier, knowing there’s no longer a threat," he said today.
Convicted of rape in the 1970s, Cook was wanted in Marion County, Kentucky, for failing to comply with the sex offender registry, according to Sheriff Jimmy Clements. He also has convictions for robbery, burglary, assault and riot, and is wanted in Hardin County on an indictment charging him with trafficking methamphetamine and tampering with evidence.
Authorities sent out public alerts. Schools in the Cumberland County district called off classes for three days this week out of fear that students might cross Cook’s path.
Officials believed they had zeroed in on him late Wednesday. An investigator spotted a car associated with Cook at a gas station in White House, Tennessee, just off Interstate 65 north of Nashville, said Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Miller.
A marshal, believing Cook to be in the car, approached and the driver attempted to speed away, ramming two police cruisers and narrowly missing an officer on foot, the U.S. Marshals Service said. An officer fired at the car.
The car careened down a dead-end street, through a fence and into a ravine, Miller said. The two occupants fled on foot into the surrounding cornfields, he said. But neither turned out to be Cook.
Two of Cook’s known associates, Katy McCarty, 35, and her boyfriend, 50-year-old Troy Wayne, were found, arrested and were being held as fugitives.