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Community Meeting Scheduled About Washington Park Shootings

Published on Wednesday, November 22, 2023 | 12:31 pm

A community meeting will be held next at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Santa Catalina Library, 999 E Washington Blvd. to provide information regarding two shootings in Washington Park.

The shootings left one man dead and another critically wounded, Mayor Victor Gordo and City Councilmembers promised action at a press conference on Wednesday.

“It’s during the holidays that families miss their loved ones and want to be with their loved ones, but when they’ve been subjected to when they’ve been a victim of crime, that can’t happen,” Gordo said. “We’re committed to helping families such as Mr. Cooper’s avoid this type of situation.”

Aaron Miguel Conell, 24, of Pasadena, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in a Pasadena courtroom on a murder count stemming from the killing of Mickey Cooper, 64, on Saturday.

Mickey’s brother and former Lakers standout Michael Cooper said his brother was in the park because it was a safe haven for him.

Conell is also charged with one count of attempted murder involving an attack early Oct. 29 on a man who was shot in the neck at Washington Park, and one count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm for allegedly walking up to a car and pointing a gun at a man seated in the driver’s seat at a gas station in Pasadena just before 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

“[Washington Park was] a place that he felt that he could be comfortable and safe and it had been up until that tragic night this happened,” Cooper said.

“I just want to thank the law enforcement, the Pasadena Police, all these detectives here, Mayor Gordo, Chief Harris, as well as the Lieutenant that handled my brother’s case to help bring our family a little bit of closure,” Michael Cooper said. “Yes, we’re going to miss Mickey, but I like to feel that he’s in a better place.”

Cooper said his brother had an addiction that he just couldn’t shake over the last year.

“We tried to get him a lot of help. He may have appeared homeless, but he wasn’t. He had a home up in Altadena, my grandmother’s house. I tried to bring my brother to my house several times, but that’s still not a reason for him not to go to that park, go to sleep, and come up and find himself in this situation.”

Cooper also thanked the Police Department and the Mayor for their hard work.

“I grew up in Pasadena and I lived just about half a block away from this park. And I remember over time that area has improved significantly,” said Justin Jones who represents District 3. “We got rid of a liquor store that was across the street. I remember oftentimes playing in that park, but recently residents have expressed their concerns about the activities that’s occurring in the park. And so on behalf of my residents, I’ve reached out to the city manager and we’ve talked to the mayor about what we can do to improve the safety.”

“We’ve also asked to agendize an item to discuss these topics. To me, this is very personal because when we lose a member of our community, we have to surround the family and we have to provide support.”

“To Michael Cooper, our office, the city of Pasadena is open to help you and to support you through these holiday seasons without your loved one. And we’ll always be here to support you and your family.”

Councilmember Jess Rivas said the community will have a chance to receive more information at the meeting.

“This has been a tense and frightening several weeks for us,” Rivas said. “We know Washington Park to be a safe and inviting place during the daylight hours, but it has been something else at night. Over these past several weeks, we can all rest easier now knowing that a suspect has been arrested, but that shouldn’t stop us from working to improve safety in the park, especially at night. Nor should we stop working to help our unhoused neighbors who are the most vulnerable in our community, two of whom were attacked.”

At the meeting residents will hear more from the police department about the incidents and how we are working to keep our parks and neighborhoods safe for everyone, Rivas said.

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