When family ties are broken

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Greenville Police officers had no idea what they would find on arrival at 924 Walnut St. Sunday, but when they got there, others besides them had guns.

Records on file at the Greenville police station indicate that at approximately 5:50 p.m. on June 10, units were called

to the home of Eli Cook Sr. - while still responding officers were informed by dispatchers that "shots were fired" - a sound that demands the attention of all officers in area, advising them to proceed with extreme caution.

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According to reports, when the first officers arrived at the address, Cook was seated on the steps of his front porch, with a gun in his hand.

After being ordered several times to put his weapon down, Cook complied. As officers approached him and placed him in protective custody, they noticed another man, also holding a gun.

The second man was Joseph Earl Cook, 25, the son of Eli.

Officers reported that after they ordered the younger Cook to drop his weapon, he left from the view of the front doorway of the home, only to emerge a short time later, but without the gun.

"We told the subject several times to get on the ground, but he refused to comply," the officers said in reports. "After a brief struggle, the subject was taken into custody - the handgun he had been holding was recovered from the next room."

After speaking to witnesses at the scene, officers were able to determine that this was in fact a domestic quarrel, and that both subjects had fired their weapons.

Both subjects were arrested for domestic violence, third degree, as required by law, but there were additional charges.

The younger Cook also was charged with resisting arrest, reckless endangerment, and discharging a firearm in the city limits.

The elder was charged with reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm in the city limits.

When asked Tuesday, after his release from custody, Eli Cook Sr. said he didn't know why the argument went to such lengths.

"I don't know what got into him," Cook said of his son. "He just started yelling that he was the one who ran my house - I told him I wanted him to leave right then."

Cook, who suffers with a heart condition,

said after he told his son to leave, he tried to go into the house, only to be shoved to the ground by his son.

"He started shooting at Daddy," said Mary Warren, Eli's daughter. "Daddy just returned fire in self-defense."

"I just don't understand it - he (his son)

was living here, rent free, and just goes off like that," said Eli Cook. "He used to live here, but he doesn't anymore."

Warren said there were several other people in the area when the gunfire occurred.

"There were not any other people right here in the yard, but there were plenty of children in the street," Warren said.

By Tuesday evening, both Cooks were out of jail on bond - Eli's was set at $6,500, and Joseph's at $10,000.

"I'm just glad no one got hurt," Warren said. "It could have been a lot worse."