Jarred Cooks is a 27-year-old Kenosha man, who like many Wisconsin natives, enjoys to fish, hunt and loves the second amendment. Cooks has been a concealed carry holder for many years. He is a law-abiding citizen and has never been arrested or convicted of any crime before the incident in this report. He has family members that live in the most dangerous area in Kenosha – 61st St on Kenosha’s east side. There is a violent Kenosha street gang called “61st St Gang” that holds that area hostage.
When Cooks visits his family in that neighborhood, he carries his firearm. Of course, he wished he would never have to use it, but he felt a little safer with the firearm. In the summer of 2020, there were about 136 reported shootings in Kenosha. This was a very deadly summer for the City with many shootings and murders. Cooks was well-aware of this trend.
In the early hours of Wednesday, May 27, 2020, Cooks and his cousin were on the porch of his cousin’s home talking with friends. There we some younger kids sitting on their porch next door too. It was a beautiful Summer evening.
Out of nowhere, two cars turned onto 61st st and began to approach Cooks and his family, one from the east, and one from the west. The two cars started spraying bullets and Cooks and his cousin, the younger neighbors were also shot at. Dozens of bullets were flying eastbound and westbound.
Cooks and his cousin, both were legally carrying firearms. Both said to police that they were almost sure they were about to die. They shot back at the two cars. They were still shaken up and in shock, they did not remember exactly where they shot at. Here are some crime scene photos of the scene. The white sedan in the driveway was riddled with bullet holes that were shot west-bound and there were bullet holes on the home and porch coming from both the west and east, proving to police that there were at least two drive-by shooters.
In the wooden spindles on the porch, there were several bullets lodged in them, suggesting that if they weren’t there, this may have been a double homicide. There were bullets found in one of the car-seats.
Kenosha Police entered the house that was shot up. They located several adults and several juveniles – most who didn’t live there, but sought shelter within. Kenosha Police didn’t have much to go on as far as a description of the drive-by shooters’ vehicles – it is KCE’s belief that the shooters were never identified or arrested. Kenosha POlice ended up arresting almost all of the people there and using a city bus to bring them to the police station. It seems like KPD decided to let the prosecutors (lawyers) decide who, if anyone to charge. Cooks’ cousin, who shot back, just like Cooks did, was released with no charges.
Cooks, however, was charged by Kenosha County DA Mike Graveley’s (D) office with 1st degree reckless endangering safety with “dangerous weapon” enhancer. Cooks was released on bail and will go to trial this spring. He is at risk of spending almost two decades behind bars – for shooting at two cars that were spraying bullets at him. According to witnesses at the scene, the house Cooks and his cousin were at, was not even the intended target. The wrong house was shot up.
Cooks is represented by seasoned criminal defense attorney Denise Hertz-McGrath who is very good at trial. Lawyers who have reviewed this case think that Graveley’s politics-induced policies will back-fire again, just like with Kyle Rittenhouse. Graveley always personally prosecuted the high-profile cases. Not when he knows they’re losers, like with Kyle Rittenhouse and the “Black Kyle Rittenhouse.” Graveley passed this case off to his second in charge, Carli McNeill, who is running next year for the DA position. Knowing that she can’t win this case either, she passed it off to prosecutor Jessica Krejcarek. Krejcarek has recently received this case and is a reasonable prosecutor. Let’s hope she does the right thing, if Graveley lets her.
Just like Rittenhouse, Cooks was in fear of his life. Just like Rittenhouse, Cooks was armed. Just like Rittenhouse, Cooks defended himself. Just like Rittenhouse, Cooks was in the only county in Wisconsin that prosecutes obvious self-defense. Just like Rittenhouse, Graveley wants to put Cooks away in prison becuase of politics. Just like Rittenhouse, Cooks may just get a not-guilty verdict at the very end of Graveley’s career of being an activist prosecutor.
KCE spoke to Cooks, who has a great job, supportive family and bright future ahead. He is very scared and confused why Kenosha DA Mike Graveley wants him in prison. “I avoided trouble my whole life. I am a good person. Why use me to prove a point that you don’t like citizens having guns for protection? It’s our right under Wisconsin Law and under the constitution.”
Although Cooks’ trial has been delayed several times, it is scheduled for April, 8, 2024.