6 Months For New Year Shooter

Posted: April 04, 2000

Michael Cook celebrated the New Year with a few shots.

Not shots of booze. He fired four shots into the air in the back yard of his home on Seltzer Street near 13th, at 12:02 a.m.

His action backfired on him.

Cook, 32, was seen shooting by two cops. Police yelled at him, and he turned and ran into his house. Cops chased him and confiscated his 9-mm gun and took him into custody.

Yesterday, Cook wound up before a former cop, Municipal Judge Seamus P. McCaffery, who had previously jailed three of four other New Year's shooters.

McCaffery, noting that Cook has prior convictions for robbery and other offenses, sentenced him to six to 12 months in jail, plus one year probation.

The judge acquitted Cook of possession of the gun, because the law allows a homeowner to have a weapon on his own property.

But Cook was found guilty of possession of an instrument of a crime and recklessly endangering another person.

"It just so happens, that after city officials and the police commissioner beg and plead with citizens not to fire guns into the air on New Year's Eve, you go out with thousands of people on the street and fire your gun," said McCaffery.

"Where do you think those bullets came down?" asked the judge.

"Your honor, I know I did wrong and I'm willing to accept the punishment."

Prior to the start of the trial, Cook's lawyer lost a motion to suppress the gun on the grounds that it had been illegally seized.

"The police saw him fire it," said McCaffery.

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