William Cooper Update
Sierra Times 11.06.01
Details are still sketchy on what caused the Cooper shootout on November 5, 2001, but a fax sent from the Apache County Sheriff's office sheds some more light on the subject. William Cooper was fatally wounded during a late night gunfight. Contrary to what was reported earlier, it was not a SWAT raid, but a simple confrontation between police and Cooper. One Apache County deputy, Robert Martinez was critically wounded in the exchange. Here's what we know so far:
According to the Sheriff's report, several deputies were positioned outside the Cooper residence to serve a warrant for Aggravated Assault and two counts of endangerment. Cooper had stated numerous times in the past that he would not surrender to law enforcement via his website and shortwave radio. Obviously, law enforcement took him seriously. The showdown began at approximately 12:15 pm local time.
After leaving his residence in his vehicle, the report states that Cooper confronted plain clothed deputies a short distance away. "As Cooper drove back to his residence, deputies attempted to stop him using a fully marked patrol vehicle to block the driveway. Cooper refused to stop or comply with verbal orders by the deputies", according to the report.
Cooper then drove around the patrol car to evade the arrest, and the report stated that he tried to run over one of the deputies en route back to his residence. Cooper was then followed a short distance to his residence where this time he was confronted by uniformed deputies. "After refusing once again to comply with the deputies orders, Cooper exited his vehicle and began running toward the house, firing shots with a handgun toward the deputies", the report said. No where in the report did it mention that Cooper only had one leg - the other lost in combat long ago. Cooper died on the scene.
When Deputy Martinez took a head shot, officers returned fire, the report said. According to the Sheriff's office, "the surgery on Martinez went well" , but the condition is still critical. There was a positive history written up about Martinez in the report, but nothing positive about Cooper, of course.
Cooper had made it known that he would take action against law enforcement from years back stating, "trespassers will be shot on discovery." He also denied violating any laws during that period as well. Cooper has a history of harassing and threatening local residents with deadly force, according to the report. He was recently charge with aggravated assault and endangerment, as well as wanted by the U.S. Marshall's Service on unrelated felony charges. Cooper had spent the last month challenging the government's claims about what caused the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11.
Most who knew of Cooper all state that he was a hard man to get along with - if at all. His demeanor and attitude was "unfriendly" at best. Although state-sponsored media called Cooper a "national militia leader", no one has yet to come forward who was under his command, nor has anyone to this point come forward to claim his 'militia rank'. None of those who knew Cooper and spoke to Sierra Times wanted to go on the record, but the best statement was, "he was a son-of a bitch, but he was our son-of-a bitch". The new Patriot Act of 2001 has many wondering if the Cooper take down was just the beginning in silencing the voices on opposition in the Country. "Are they just starting in alphabetical order?" one person asked. Cooper was best known for being the first to provide evidence of explosives being found inside the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, including the type of explosive used.
According to his webmaster, "It appears at this time to be totally unrelated to the disputes he had with the federal government." There were no federal agents involved with the gunfight