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Alleged cop killer arrested

There is a Thin Blue Line running through the city of Chattahoochee Hills today. That thin blue line stretches along Vernon Grove Road and is emblematic of the service of Lt. Mike Vogt, a longtime officer who gave his life in the line of duty Monday afternoon after being shot while in his patrol car by 44 year-old Robert Cook who was arrested Wednesday.

Details of the incident that claimed the life of the 56 year-old Vogt were provided by Chatt Hills Police Chief Damon Jones at the conclusion of a candlelight vigil held for Vogt’s family outside Vernon Grove Baptist Church Wednesday night.

Jones said Vogt had been on Vernon Grove Road in route to a call on Hutcheson Ferry Road a short distance away. Cook had parked his car on the side of the narrow dirt road, about half way between Hutcheson Ferry Road and Rico Road. Recalling Cook’s description of the event to investigators, Jones said Cook had stopped to urinate when Vogt pulled up. The two men knew each other from an earlier incident when Vogt had citied Cook for not having a driver’s license.

“That probably led Mike to not use more caution,” Jones explained. “Mike recognized him and asked him if he’d gotten his driver’s license yet. Cook said ‘yeah’ then reached in his car and pulled out a .223 carbine. Cook said he got the gun out and started shooting.”

Other officers responded to the scene. Cook had fled the area and Vogt was life-flighted to Grady Hospital where he died later.

Cook’s explanation, said Jones, was that he had no driver’s license and was drinking a beer. Other reports said that Cook was wanted on an outstanding warrant and had said he would not go back to jail.

Cook was located at a residence on U.S. Highway 29 on Fairburn’s west side at 3:10 p.m. Wednesday. He was located through a tip that came into the GBI and based on other information, Jones said. Cook was taken into custody as SWAT teams converged on the residence.

Jones at the candlelight vigil thanked the community for rallying to the aid of both the police department and the many local, state and federal law enforcement officers who had converged on the city to assist in the investigation.

“We couldn’t have done it without them,” Jones said of the city’s residents. “It made an impression on the GBI and the other agencies. They were amazed at the outpouring of community support.”

Vogt joined the Chattahoochee Hills Police Department in December of 2008 and was recently promoted to Lieutenant. Along with his other endeavors Vogt had worked with Union City Police for two decades. A number of those officers attended the vigil Wednesday night.

Many in Chatt Hills were visibly shaken by the events that unfolded this week. Chatt Hills is a new city with a very small population spread across a country setting. Their recent fight for cityhood helped cement a bond between many who live there. That bond was visible during the tragedy that led to Mike Vogt’s death.

“The day it happened… seeing the people and their concern and desperation to know what happened to one of our officers… and hearing that he passed,” Councilman Dave Hanson said after the vigil. He, too, was shaken. “There was an endless stream of calls coming in to city hall from people wanting to know what they could do to help. The police officers refused to go home. People brought in food for them and mattresses and cots. It was unbelievable.”

The Thin Blue Line for many in law enforcement signifies the loss of life in the line of duty. For many in Chatt Hills, too, that blue line, like a laser, has pierced their homes and their hearts.   

 “This is a close-knit community. The residents here view cops as their friends. Mike was a friend.  He had lost two children. One of them died giving birth and they were raising the grandchild themselves,” Chatt Hills Councilman Rodney Peek said Wednesday from his office in Hampton.  “How does one woman bury two children and now her husband? I cannot imagine.  Please pray for the Vogt family.”
A fund to assist the family has been established at United Community Bank in the name of Mike Vogt. For further information on providing assistance to the family contact Chattahoochee Hills City Hall at 770-463-8881.

The need for offering support to Vogt’s wife and other children was also on the mind of Damon Jones who, speaking to those gathered at the candlelight vigil said, “We’ve spent two days focusing on the criminal. Now we’re going to focus on the family.”
The funeral will be conducted Satuday at noon at the First Baptist church of Atlanta.

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