Arraignment is scheduled Monday for a man charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of the younger brother of former Lakers star Michael Cooper at a Pasadena park.
Aaron Miguel Conell, 24, of Pasadena, is accused of killing Mickey Cooper, 64, at Washington Park on Nov. 18.
Conell is also charged with one count of attempted murder involving an alleged 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. Nov. 5, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The charges include allegations that Conell personally used a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun during the commission of the crimes and that he personally inflicted great bodily injury on the victim in the Oct. 29 shooting.
Mickey Cooper was found at 4 a.m. Nov. 18 suffering from gunshot wounds after Pasadena police responded to a ShotSpotter gunshot detection alert in the 700 block of East Washington Boulevard, between Lake and El Molino avenues. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The victim’s brother, Michael, was a defensive stalwart during the Lakers’ “Showtime ” championship era in the 1980s. After his playing career ended, he had various coaching positions, including as coach of the Los Angeles Sparks, guiding them to two WNBA titles. He is now the boys’ basketball coach at Culver City High School.
“The reason that my brother was there (is) because it was a safe haven for him, a place that he felt that he could be comfortable and safe,” Michael Cooper told reporters during a Wednesday morning news conference. “And it had been, up until that tragic night this has happened.”
Cooper said he and his brother played regularly at the park when they were growing up.
He thanked Pasadena police for their work on the case, reiterating that his brother had struggled with drug addiction “that he just couldn’t shake.”
“I like to feel he is in a better place,” Cooper said.
Conell was taken into custody late Nov. 18 by Pasadena police. He remains jailed in lieu of $4.25 million bail. Police said the shootings appeared to be random attacks.
Police coordinated an arrest operation with members of the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force and the department’s SWAT and K-9 units, according to Pasadena police Lt. Monica Cuellar.
Conell was initially booked at the Pasadena City Jail on suspicion of assault with a firearm, but detectives obtained additional evidence so he was additionally booked on suspicion of murder, Cuellar said.
Conell could face more than 50 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney’s Office.