Head of Metro responds to murder of guard on MetroLink train


ST. LOUIS – “Devastating.” That’s the word CEO and President of Bi-State Development Taulby Roach used to describe the murder of MetroLink security guard James Cook.

“Our community suffers when something like this happens. It’s unexplainable but we’re going to do our best,” Roach said. “What I owe public is we are going to look at this professionally. What worked and did not work and continue to move forward.”

The shooting happened Sunday around 10:00 a.m. near the Delmar Loop Metro Station. Cook was shot in the face after responding to a reported disturbance. He confronted the person causing the disturbance, who then pulled out a gun and shot Cook.

How does Roach respond to people in the region who say the MetroLink is nothing more than a haven for criminal activity?

“I need to listen to all those people. Because it’s important. Because it’s a public asset,” he said. “Just like the police have to deliver a service, what I need to try and deliver is a service.”

Roach feels his staff is making MetroLink safer. He explains why security guards can’t carry guns.

“Our enabling federal legislation that allows us to be agency that allows us to do transit between Missouri and Illinois prohibits us or me from having employees that carry deadly weapons,” he said. “We do allow deadly weapons on the system but there’s always going to be a badge behind that.”

Roach says we can honor Cook by remembering his service and those who are working every day to provide much needed transportation for many as safely as possible.

Cook leaves behind two daughters and his wife, Kimberly. There is a GoFundMe page set up to help the Cook family.

Meanwhile, police arrested 36-year-old Nathaniel Maurice Smith in connection with the shooting. He’s facing murder and armed criminal action charges. 

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