Albany shooting victim’s sister calls for end to violence

The suspect has been taken into custody
Updated: May. 14, 2020 at 12:52 AM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A murder suspect in an Albany homicide was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon, according to the Albany Police Department (APD).

Christopher Reginald Cooks, 33, is facing charges for murder and aggravated assault in connection to the death of Dequario Antwon Thomas, 40.

Christopher Cooks
Christopher Cooks(Albany Police Department)

APD said the shooting happened in the 2700 block of Sylvester Road, near Independence Drive, early Wednesday morning.

APD released a redacted police report Wednesday morning, and WALB has omitted the girlfriend’s name:

[The officer] responded in normal mode to 417 W 3rd Ave (Phoebe) in reference to discharging firearms. I made contact with a black 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe occupied by [the victim’s girlfriend.] [She] advised she and Dequario Thomas (boyfriend) went to get ice from the ice machine at Independence Dr./Sylvester Hwy.

She advised the vehicle was parked at an angle with the passenger’s side close to the ice dispenser. As Thomas walked around the front of the vehicle, she saw him wave at a red truck that was turning left onto Independence Drive.

She advised she observed Thomas put the money into the machine and soon after, she heard approximately 4-5 shots. She observed Thomas duck down and appear to run. She jumped into the driver’s seat and drove towards the Law Enforcement Center.

She advised she was afraid to stop at the Law Enforcement Center because she was unsure as to whether or not the shooters followed her. She began having trouble breathing and drove to the emergency room (Phoebe).

Lavicka Stewart, Thomas’ sister, said she had just gotten back from a trip from Florida when she got a call hours later that her brother had been killed.

Lavicka Stewart, Victim's sister
Lavicka Stewart, Victim's sister(WALB)

“It is very tough to deal with, I have to be strong for not only myself but my mom and his children at this time," said Stewart.

Thomas left behind two children and three grandchildren.

Stewart said he was a loving father trying to provide for his family.

“My brother was one of a different character, full of life, was just trying to live life to take care of his own needs, very independent," said Stewart.

The shooting happen around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in front of an ice machine off of Independence Drive and Sylvester Road.

Stewart said her brother was a diabetic and was just going to grab some ice with his girlfriend.

The incident is located on Independence Drive  and Sylvester Rd
The incident is located on Independence Drive and Sylvester Rd(WALB)

“He has been in the hospital recently, was in the hospital on Friday, got out on Saturday. So, he drinks a lot of fluids and waters when his sugars are high, so he eats a lot of ice,” explained Stewart.

Police said Thomas’ girlfriend was able to drive away unharmed.

Stewart said the violence in Albany needs to come to an end.

“Unfortunately, here in Albany, not only have we been faced with COVID and that has affected families, we really have a big issue with crime here and I think that that is something that as a city, they are trying to get on top of but we have more work to do with our crime,” said Stewart.

Anyone with any information on this case is asked to call Albany Crime Stoppers at (229) 436-TIPS, the Albany Police Department at (229) 431-2100 or your local law enforcement.

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