Malenko Cooley (Facebook)
An AL.COM post By Carol Robinson | [email protected]
An east Alabama teen found dead in Georgia two days after he was reported missing was killed during an armed robbery and aggravated assault, authorities said Thursday.
Malenko Cooley, 18, from Valley, was reported missing Saturday, Jan. 19. His body was found early Tuesday in LaGrange, Ga.
Police from two cities on Thursday provided new details about the events leading up to the teen’s death.
It all began about 3 a.m. Sunday at an apartment complex in Newnan. According to police there, officers responded to Newnan Crossing apartments on Parkway North to investigate a possible person shot. During the investigation, detectives learned that Cooley and Marquavious Harris, 19, had gone to the apartment to have a resident there keep a gun for them.
Soon after they arrived, police said, the resident felt as if Cooley and Harris were there to rob him, and a physical altercation broke out in a complex hallway between the resident and Cooley.
While the two were fighting, Harris pulled a pistol and began to fire at the resident, striking him multiple times in the abdomen. Cooley fell on top of the resident, and then jumped up when the gunshots stopped.
Newnan police said Cooley and Harris fled the scene, and the resident called for help. It was later determined that a Kia passenger car, registered to a relative of Cooley’s, was seen leaving the area and travelling southbound on Interstate 85.
The resident, whose name police are withholding for safety reasons, was taken to an Atlanta hospital where he is recovering.
Meanwhile, LaGrange police were investigating the disappearance of Cooley. Late Monday night they received information that Cooley may be in the area of Mooty Bridge Road near Walmart Road.
Officers searched the area and found Cooley about 1 a.m. Tuesday in the 100 block of Spring Street. The teen had been shot in the upper torso and was pronounced dead inside his vehicle.
Later that morning, LaGrange police notified Newnan police they had found Cooley dead in the back seat of the abandoned vehicle. About six hours later, Harris turned himself in to LaGrange police and indicated he was involved in the incident.
On Wednesday, investigators from both police departments met and determined Cooley and the resident were both shot during that altercation at the apartment.
Harris is being held without bond in the Troup County Jail on a charge by LaGrange police for concealing the death of another person. Newnan police said they are working to obtain warrants against Harris for murder, aggravated assault, and armed robbery.