Marine shot at MetroLink was OHS graduate, former Owensville resident

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 2/13/21

James Cook of Sullivan, formerly of Owensville and Steelville, was working as a MetroLink security officer at the Delmar Loop MetroLink station Jan. 31 when he was shot and killed.

He leaves …

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Marine shot at MetroLink was OHS graduate, former Owensville resident

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James Cook of Sullivan, formerly of Owensville and Steelville, was working as a MetroLink security officer at the Delmar Loop MetroLink station Jan. 31 when he was shot and killed.

He leaves behind his wife Kimberlee (Beezley) and daughters Zoey and Lydia.

The former Marine had ties to Owensville through his mother and stepfather Tracy and Danny Nichols, who lived in town when Cook was attending school. Danny Nichols spoke highly of his stepson.

“He moved in with me and his mom his senior year of high school, and graduated early, then went into the Marines in February while he was still 17-years-old,” Nichols said.

While he lived in Owensville, James attended and graduated from Owensville High School and attended First Assembly of God Church in Owensville.

“James’ highest priority was his family,” Nichols said. “Part of that was because he spent a third of the marriage away from his family.”

He wanted to give his family an adventure and they did a lot together.

“He was a phenomenal dad and really enjoyed spending time with his girls, his family in general,” Nichols said. “He was always thinking of ways he could make more money and do more side jobs to provide for his family.”

That was why he began working as a security guard for MetroLink. They wanted to take their girls to Disney World. Nichols said Cook liked his job though.

“They weren’t allowed to carry weapons and were only given pepper spray to defend themselves,” Nichols said. “He loved it because he loved people and loved helping people. Even to the point where he would, out of his own pocket, buy people tickets that couldn’t afford it.”

Cook’s heart for people didn’t stop at buying tickets. He was involved with a group called Missouri Force that focused on helping veterans, and had 12 credit hours left of pre-law to become a lawyer to help veterans.

“I’d say if James wanted to tell anybody anything, it would be to support our veterans — that’s where James’ heart really was,” Nichols said. “Really, our family’s only peace is knowing James had a personal relationship with Christ which in the end is the most important thing.”

The Nichols moved to Texas a few years ago, and since his return home, Cook and his family have resided in Sullivan. The family attends Sullivan Christian Church, where friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with funeral expenses and assist Kimberlee in raising their two daughters on her own.

According to the page, set up by friend of the family Ashley Tucker, “I have spoken to the family and including James’ and Kim’s mortgage, business loan, and vehicles their debt is approximately $250,000. We desire to raise this amount so Kim can begin the long road of recovery and rebuild her life without these financial burdens.”

The page had raised $162,575 as of mid-afternoon Tuesday. 

“The community has come to support this family,” Nichols said.

After Cook joined the Marines in 2008, he graduated from bootcamp and married Kimberlee, his Steelville High School sweetheart, so she could go with him wherever he was stationed.

He served for one year in Afghanistan and then spent a year in Africa. He served a total of eight years before he was honorably discharged.

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