BALD KNOB, W.Va. — The W.Va. Alcohol Beverage Control Administration (ABCA) is currently looking for surviving family members of a Boone County prohibition commissioner who was killed in the line of duty.
The group hopes to have Leander M. Cook’s name added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial, but they need the permission of Cook’s family and window to have Cook’s name added the memorial next year is quickly closing.
Surviving family members will be invited to the yearly ceremony that updates names on the National Law Enforcement Memorial.
During an interview with the Coal Valley News, Gig Robinson, spokesman for the ABCA, explained Cook had been a commissioner of prohibition in Bald Knob, W.Va.
Robinson added commissioners of prohibition were in charge of enforcing the 18th amendment of the constitution whereby alcohol was made illegal.
“We came across Leaner Cook. He was a 44 year old prohibition officer. We have corroborated that he was a law enforcement officer and that he died in the line of duty,” explained Robinson.
However, Robinson noted Cook was not killed while he was enforcing prohibition.
An issue of the Madison Recorder from Nov. 21, 1924, details the story of a double killing at Pond Fork, W.Va.
The article explains that on Nov. 13, 1924, Cook and the local constable, W.E. Mays, reportedly shot and killed each other after Cook had been tasked with arresting Mays.
The article explains a warrant had been sworn out for May’s arrest after he allegedly, “arrested a woman…without a warrant and abused her.”
Mays reportedly refused to comply with Cook. The article states, “Mays objected to being arrested by Cook saying, he would go with the sheriff or deputy, but absolutely refused to submit to arrest by Cook. A deputy sheriff could not be found at once, and Cook insisted Mays come with him, when, it is said, Mays opened fire and Cook followed suit.”
Cook’s death certificate explains he died from a collapsed lung resulting from the gunshot wound.
Death certificate lists Cook’s father as J.M. Cook, of Boone County and his mother as Flora Perry, of Logan County.
It is believed Cook and his wife are interred at Green Cemetery in Bandytown, W.Va.
Cook’s surviving family members can contact Robinson at the ABCA by calling 304-356-5506.
Robinson added. in order to meet the 2016 deadline for the National Law Enforcement Memorial the group will need have Cook’s serving family’s permission by Dec. 28.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165 ext. 1661 or by email at [email protected]