Harrisburg police officer honored for bravery during shootout

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - A former Harrisburg police officer says he was just 15 feet from a gunman who fired at his chest.

Jeffery Cook was recognized Wednesday for his bravery while serving a Jan. 18 arrest warrant with the U.S. Marshal's fugitive task force in the 1800 block of Mulberry Street. The honor was presented by Safariland, the maker of the body armor that stopped the bullet from injuring Cook.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher Hill was killed in an exchange of gunfire with the suspect. Officer Kyle Pitts, a task force member and 10-year veteran of the York City Police Department, was injured.

Cook said he was set to retire in December but stayed on a few extra months to help train incoming officers. On the morning of the warrant service, he was guarding the front door when 31-year-old Kevin Sturgis fired on task force members and fled past him.

"He looks at me and I look at him," Cook recalled. "I start moving back. He pulls the trigger. I feel something hit me, but I don't know -- I looked to see, but I didn't feel any leakage or warm sensations."

"I didn't realize there was a hole in my vest until I took it off," he said.

Sturgis was killed in a shootout with task force members.

Cook, a 27-year veteran of the Harrisburg Bureau of Police, was on administrative leave for two months. 

He said he didn't want to end his career that way, so he went back to the task force for three months before retiring two weeks ago.

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