Natural cause: Widower of slain motorist found dead

The Culpeper man who lost his wife in a controversial hail of police gunfire has died in mysterious, but perhaps not nefarious, circumstances. Gary D. Cook lived long enough to see the officer charged with murder in the February shooting of Patricia Ann Cook, but he was found dead Tuesday in the apartment he once shared with his late wife.

"It's very sad," notes James Jennings, the citizen who runs the Justice for Patricia Cook Facebook page.

According to an initial release from the Virginia State Police, which is investigating the death, a maintenance person found the body of the 62-year-old man after entering his apartment in the Friendship Heights complex to conduct routine maintenance on Tuesday morning, September 11.

"Preliminary findings," reads a subsequent release, "by the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas determined that he died of natural causes."

The county sheriff’s office was dispatched at 10:29am to investigate the "unattended death" and then contacted the Culpeper field office of the Virginia State Police's criminal division, according to a State Police release.

In television interviews following the February 9 killing of his wife as she drove out of a church parking lot, the soft-spoken Mr. Cook appeared earnest and shaken. Cook later hired the Charlottesville firm of MichieHamlett to wage a wrongful death lawsuit against the officer, Daniel Harmon-Wright.

"Shocked is my first reaction," says Mr. Cook's lawyer, Greg Webb. "Extremely sad would be my next– he's an extremely nice guy."

In late May, Harmon-Wright, who discharged five of his seven shots through the back of Mrs. Cook's Jeep, was charged with murder and three other felonies. In pleadings, he has defended his actions as a reasonable response to a threat to public safety, since Mrs. Cook was allegedly driving with an obscured windshield. His trial has been set for January.

Attorney Webb says that the civil suit will likely continue under a different plaintiff, Patricia Cook's only sibling, a brother who lives in New Jersey. She had no children.

"At this stage of the investigation, it does not appear foul play was a factor in the man’s death," the State Police says in a release. Mr. Cook's body was transported to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Manasas for an autopsy to take place on Wednesday, September 12. It was that examination that led to the preliminary findings.

–story updated at 12:58pm with slight reorganization and addition of quotations and information from Webb
–story updated again at 2:36pm with preliminary autopsy findings via VSP release; and question mark removed from headline after the words "Natural causes"

Read more on: patricia ann cook


Just like Andrew Breitbart died of natural causes. They have heart attack guns and other doodads that disrupt your natural bioelectric mechanisms, causing what appears to be a natural death. But go ahead and call it a conspiracy theory and get on your horse and buggy and ride down to the river to wash your clothes if you think it's still the 1900's.


@Somebody...I am not sure what killing the man would have accomplished, except for evading a lawsuit. But, she has other loved ones (brother) who likely will be a plaintiff. Frankly, I do not know much about civil law in Virginia, but I'd be more inclined to nail the perps with punitive damages as much as compensatory. If the trial bears it out and find the ex-cop guilty as charged, him and the town should pay tons in punitive damages.

@Tim Brown...If you are from the Chville area, could you refrain from the Francais? It is truly nauseating to see how enamored this little town is with the socialist bedwetters we had to save in the mid-1940s. If I was doing an exercise for school kids on "Is-to" relationships, it would have to be:
NBC:British Royalty::Charlottesville:France
"J'ouvre le livre de Anglais!" I don't do French!

R.I.P.: Franz Jost

R.I.P.: Turk Broda

que=what in Spanish prob a reference to character in
Fawlty Towers who didn't always know what other
people were talking about

"Que" is Spanish for "what"

Not sure about the French equivalent.

He probably would have testified at the murder trial as well.

I'd be hiring a good bodyguard if I were her brother.

Of course,with those darn pistoleros de infartos it wouldn't really matter.

Liberalace do don the bumpkin dunce cap going forward. If you can set a plug gap and points we'll give you extra credit for shop class.

Que? Spanish "What"

"If the trial bears it out and find the ex-cop guilty as charged, him and the town should pay tons in punitive damages."

'Him' is an object/prepositional pronoun. 'He' is the subject pronoun.

RIP: Faith in public education

Virginia (some call it tort reform) put in a punitive cap of $350,000. Any award by a jury over $350K in punitive damages is reduced to 350K in all Virginia cases. You are not allowed to tell the jury that either. France did a great service to this country by supporting us in the Rev. war and selling the Louisiana Purchase to us.

Very suspicious ain't it?

@ Punitive.....France...cheese eating surrender monkeys. Truman decided to back France in Viet Nam, bad soon as we moved in they split. Ho Chi Min reached out to the Truman administration on numerous occasions, and he was largely ignored. Truman subscribed to the "domino theory". But the fact is that the Vietnamese had been fighting Chinese aggression for two thousand years...successfully. WW2, they handed France to Hitler on a silver platter...then stood there and cried as the Germans paraded through Paris. Every country France colonized was left in total chaos when they bugged out and are now some of the most impoverished nations on Earth. Colonialism at its lowest common denominator. Freedom Fries Forever!!!!
RIP: Deodorant in Paris

@ Dolemite...we are all impressed with you extensive grasp of the English language. But, your political beliefs show a certain lack of common sense. The way you look down your nose at Liberal lace is a classic progressive tactic. Are you a student of Obama Tactics?

"The way you look down your nose at Liberal lace is a classic progressive tactic."

:laughing at the irony:

lol...maybe Dolemite will come on and define "irony" for you...

Whoa, Nelly. I didn't know you had access to my political beliefs. Do tell me more about them and the problem with common sense. It will be interesting.

On the English front there's really nothing extensive at work in the post above; just pointing out some very simple stuff to a routinely bumptious commentator, that's all.

Oh you did realize that you were the brunt of a pretty good chuckle 3 posts up, didn't you? I don't want to be pedantic or progressive by explaining it though.

@Nelly...don't be so hard on Dolemite. She is correct in her post; I was so enamored in my attempts to go back to French class that I putzed my pronouns. I appreciate that she rapidly sought out and opened her old grammar books to correct me. She did me a service.

However, she must realize that I am not a product of public education but, rather, Catholic education. The nuns would smack my knuckles silly for the incorrect use of a pronoun.

I am not sure why she would consider my posts as "bumptious," but perhaps her rather offensive post towards me was her attempt at irony. Equally curious is her citation of a rather benign post of mine as "bumptious." However, I am pleased to see Dolemite can pull the old Random House dictionary out of the cobwebs to make herself sound wordly.

R.I.P.: Bert Convy

Liberalace 'bumptious' is a great word. It has a great sound, and it's an accurate description for the tone and content of a lot of your posts. Really wouldn't you be happier preaching to the converted in the "Cracker Barrel" (the NBC 29 lowbrow white anger channel) ? Most of the time you're just mildly bumptious with your right-leaning posts but you invite correction when you start carping about others' use of French in the forum and railing about "how enamored this little town is with the socialist bedwetters." We can tolerate your lowbrow "RIP: Buddy Hackett," schtick but don't get all high and lower middle whitey about someone using a bon mot to spice up their own posts. And why does a provincial have it in so much for the Frogs anyway?

But thanks for giving the Catholic insight, so let's try a different tack (hope you don't get all upset about nautical metaphors): Don't you feel *guilty* wasting all that education that Sister Mary Pontificate sacrificed so much to provide for you?

Professional hit job. No the least bit of doubt. The Culpepper Mafia is DEADLY and will continue to be until every last one of them is on the other side of the grass.

The "Culpepper mafia" is one dude. He'd have to call in a specialist from a big city. A specialist!