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Suspect charged in shooting death of MetroLink security guard

Nathaniel Maurice Smith, 36, was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action

ST. LOUIS — A man has been arrested and charged in the shooting death of a MetroLink security guard over the weekend.

Nathaniel Maurice Smith, 36, was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Bond was not allowed.

On the morning of Jan. 31, St. Louis police were called to the Delmar Loop MetroLink station in the 700 block of Hodiamont Avenue for a shooting. 

When officers arrived, they found a security guard lying on the ground with gunshot wounds. Emergency responders pronounced him dead at the scene. He was later identified as 30-year-old James Cook.

According to the probable cause statement, Smith approached Cook, took out a gun and shot him multiple times. 

Smith was captured in surveillance footage from the MetroLink station, which led police to identify him as the suspect. An eyewitness also identified Smith as the person who shot Cook, according to the court records.

Credit: St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
Nathaniel Maurice Smith

Witnesses told police Cook had just gotten off a train and when he got to the top of the platform he started to talking to Smith, who became confrontational and threatened him, sources told 5 On Your Side.

Cook – who was unarmed – backed away from the suspect and got a can of mace from his duty belt. That’s when the suspect shot him multiple times and walked toward Des Peres Avenue, sources said.

Cook spent eight years with the Marines before moving back to Missouri. He worked various jobs to provide stability for his family before landing the security guard job with MetroLink, family members said.

"I can't wrap my head around this violence that took this life after he was around the world twice literally and come home to die in his backyard," his mother-in-law Vickie Munton said.

A GoFundMe account is raising money for Cook's widow and two daughters. As of Tuesday morning, it raised more than $95,000.

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