Police Say Cooper Killed His Cousin Over Unpaid Debt

April 05, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

Did Richard Anthony Cooper die for want of a couple hundred dollars?

Havre de Grace police think so.

Investigators believe the 22-year-old Havre de Grace man's dispute over a debt with his cousin, Cornelius Marcellous Cooper, came to ahead March 28 when Cornelius allegedly gunned down Richard Cooper inthe 200 block of Bloomsbury Ave. Police believe 20-year-old Cornelius Cooper was fed up with his cousin's badgering him for the money, thought to be between $200 and $300, said Sgt. John Van Gilder, a spokesman for Havre de Grace police.

"They had been going back and forth for several days (over the money)" and fighting, Van Gilder said.

Richard Cooper died at Harford Memorial Hospital shortly after the Saturday afternoon shooting.

His cousin is being held without bondin the county Detention Center on first-degree murder and weapons charges. Cornelius Cooper, originally from Philadelphia, has lived in Havre de Grace for about six months, Van Gilder said, with his recent quarters in the 200 block of Wilson St.

According to the police account, Officer Christine Skarzenski was leaving a home in the 200 block of Bloomsbury Ave. at 1:43 p.m. following an unrelated investigation, when she heard two shots and yelling from the street.

Skarzenski reported that from about 50 yards away on Bloomsbury Avenue, she saw one man stumbling and another man pointing a gun at him.

"Officer Skarzenski called out to the defendant to stop and throw down his weapon, at which time (the suspect) fired a third round," the police report said.

Richard Cooper fell on his back. The man with the gunfled toward Seneca Avenue. Skarzenski called for backup and administered first aid.

About 25 officers from the Havre de Grace Police Department set up road blocks and searched for the suspect, who was was arrested without incident at about 7:15 p.m. after leaving a house in the 200 block of Seneca Ave., Van Gilder said.

Witnesses told investigators the defendant had threatened to shoot his cousin if he didn't stop harassing him about the debt, police said.

Cooper is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Harford District Court April 29.

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