The sergeant who captured fugitive David Sweat is a 21-year police veteran who was hailed as a hero by New York's governor for opening fire after the inmate ran from him toward a tree line near the Canadian border.
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico said Sunday that Sgt. Jay Cook was by himself when he shot and wounded Sweat after the fugitive refused a command to stop.
D'Amico said Cook, who hails from Troop B, is a 21-year veteran of the New York State Police. He said that Cook was supervising the perimeter of the manhunt when he spotted a male jogging along the road. When Cook approached, the male ignored him and said "what do you want from me?" D'Amico said.
Cook, who immediately recognized the inmate, gave chase when Sweat fled and decided to fire as the fugitive approached a tree line where Cook feared he would lose him, state police said.
"If Sweat made the tree line, he would have been gone," said D'Amico, who said that he could only "assume" the escapee was headed toward the Canadian border less than two miles away.
Sweat, who was unarmed, was struck twice in the torso and was taken to a hospital in stable condition, authorities said.
D'Amico said that Cook was alone on a routine patrol and not acting on a tip.
"Brave policing," D'Amico said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he spoke to Sgt. Cook, who has two teenage daughters, after the manhunt ended.
"I said, 'Well, you go home tonight and tell your daughters that you're a hero,' " Cuomo said. "With teenage girls, that'll probably last a good 24 hours, and then you'll just go back to being a regular dad."
The sergeant's mother, Judy Cook, told The Press-Republican of Plattsburgh that her 47-year-old son "just happened to be in the right place at the right time" when he shot Sweat.
Cook is a native of the neighboring town of Burke, and his mother said he has been patrolling the area along the border for years.
Sweat's capture comes two days after after his fellow inmate, Richard Matt, was killed in a confrontation with law enforcement.