Reynard Cook had been on the run from D.C. police for a year, eluding capture despite a $25,000 reward, his picture posted on the Internet and pleas for his arrest made twice on a national television show.
It was Cook’s own call to police in Pennsylvania — authorities said he falsely told a 911 dispatcher Friday morning that he saw guns and bombs — that finally put him in handcuffs in the fatal shooting of his ex-girlfriend in front of their three young children in February 2012 in Northeast Washington.
Cook, 29, had been indicted in D.C. Superior Court on a charge of first-degree murder in June 2012, a month after Yolanda Stone died in a hospital of gunshot wounds. Cook has a court hearing Wednesday in Patton Township, Pa., just outside of State College, and he is being held pending his extradition to the District.
Stone’s family, which set up a Web site chronicling the couple’s stormy, nine-year relationship, received word of Cook’s arrest on Monday, when a fingerprint match was confirmed. It was the anniversary of the day Stone died.
A police mug shot of Cook displayed on the family’s Web site now has the word “Caught” written in red across the bottom.
The couple met in high school. Stone remained with her boyfriend even when he missed the birth of their first child because he was in jail, according to the family’s site. After the birth of their third child, family members said he started taking medication to treat mental illness.
The Washington Post reported last year that Stone had told authorities Cook hit her several times in the months leading up to the shooting and once threatened to kill her, prompting the court to order alcohol treatment and psychiatric evaluation. Records show he often failed to show for his court appearances.
On Feb. 15, 2012, D.C. police said Stone along with two of her children drove to the 3300 block of Alden Place NE to pick up the couple’s third child, who was with Cook. Because of a protective order, the U.S. attorney’s office said Stone parked in the middle of the street to ensure Cook didn’t come within 100 feet of her.
But the two argued and police said Cook pulled out a gun and shot Stone several times in the head and body as she tried to run away, in view of her children in the car. Cook was charged with first-degree murder while armed, cruelty to children, weapons offenses and violating a civil protection order.
On Tuesday, D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said Cook has also been charged in another killing — this one of Nacarto Gladden, 32, of Northeast Washington, who was shot in July 2007 in the 4900 block of Quarles Street NE.
Over the past year, police have searched connections to Cook in North Carolina, the District and Pennsylvania, and twice they made pleas on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted.” The suspect’s mother went on local television and pleaded for her son to surrender.
Patton Township Police Chief John E. Petrick said officers first made contact with Cook on May 10. He was taken in for questioning after Petrick said he was darting in and out of traffic and trying to dislodge stop signs on a commercial street.
Petrick said the man gave several names and dates of birth, none of which could immediately be verified. Cook was not arrested or charged with a crime, but he was sent for emergency psychiatric evaluation, Petrick said.
He was freed, and one week later he called the Centre County emergency dispatch center and said he saw guns and bombs on a street, Petrick said. Cook again gave different names, the chief said, but this time he was arrested and charged in connection with both incidents.
Petrick said his department finally verified Cook’s name, and on Monday they saw the arrest warrant on the murder charge from the District.
Eddy Palanzo contributed to this report.