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Fugitive sought in Nashville murder case

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NASHVILLE — A murder suspect remained on the lam after police obtained a fugitive warrant charging him in connection with a fatal home invasion last month.

Montreal Tyrek Cooper, 20, of Maple Street in Rocky Mount, is wanted by authorities and the target of a U.S. Marshals Service manhunt as of press time.

Cooper is described as a black man with black hair and brown eyes weighing 130 pounds and standing 5 feet. 7 inches tall. He has tattoos on the top of both hands.

He’s accused in the death of 27-year-old Marquis Perry of First Street in Nashville.

Police found Perry dead at around 5:45 a.m. Nov. 14 when they arrived at the Oak Tree apartment complex in response to reports of a shooting.

Perry’s girlfriend and 12-year-old child were home at the time, Police Chief Anthony Puckett said in a Friday evening news release.

Police have identified two suspects in the case. Cooper and Antwan Ray Hawkins, 35, of Countryside Drive in Charlotte, have been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, attempted armed robbery and breaking and entering.

Cooper has a criminal history including acting as an accessory after the fact to murder, rape, taking indecent liberties with a minor and several other counts. He has several pending court dates for a slew of recent drug trafficking charges, according to police records, the N.C. Department of Public Safety and the state’s online court appearance calendar.

Hawkins is on federal probation for felony drug and weapons charges, attempted first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and multiple other counts.

Puckett thanked everyone who provided information in the case.

“Because of that information, and the cooperation of the media, especially Fighting Crime, who provided the police department with much of our information, we have been able to obtain warrants on the two individuals responsible for the crime,” Puckett said. “Without the cooperation from the media and the information provided, we would not have identified these two individuals by now.”

Fighting Crime News and Who’s Wanted is a local resident’s website and Facebook page.

After receiving information Dec. 9, Sgt. Caleb Shockley went to Charlotte and interviewed Hawkins.

Investigators determined Hawkins stayed at the Executive Inn in Rocky Mount during the time of the homicide. After the interview, Hawkins was taken into federal custody for a probation violation. He is in prison now.

Shockley then interviewed Cooper, who confessed to the crime, Puckett said.

“Cooper knew details that were not made public,” Puckett said. “Guns that were collected from Cooper were a Taurus 9mm and AK-47 seized from Cooper’s grandmother’s residence.”

The guns were not used in the killing, but as a convicted felon, Cooper cannot legally possess any firearms. Appropriate weapons charges are pending, Puckett said.

Cooper is on the run, but he has been entered as a wanted person for a murder charge, Puckett said.

In a confession recorded by police, Cooper told investigators he saw Perry with a large amount of cash and told Hawkins about it.

“Cooper sent pictures of the cash to Hawkins and they set up the robbery,” Puckett said, paraphrasing the confession. “The robbery turned deadly when the victim grabbed for what appeared to have been a firearm under the bed and Hawkins shot the victim.”

During the evidence collection, a gun bag was found but no gun was in the bag. According to Perry’s girlfriend, a .25-caliber handgun was stolen and its information has been entered into law enforcement databases, Puckett said.

“The Nashville Police Department has used every resource available to apprehend the individuals responsible for this crime,” Puckett said. “This has been a collaborative effort with area law enforcement agencies.”

The Nash County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the collection of evidence and the Rocky Mount Police Department assisted with evidence processing of casings found at the scene through the Integrated Ballistics Identification System, which helped eliminate weapons thought to be the murder weapon, Puckett said.

The RMPD Special Operations Division also assisted in filing federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives charges during the investigation.

The Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office assisted in locating the firearms seized from Cooper.

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office assisted in a search of the Lamon’s Ferry Bridge area when police received information that the gun used in the homicide was thrown into the water. While no evidence of the homicide was located during that search, Puckett said the agencies worked together to help bring closure to the Perry family.

“I am extremely proud of the work that our investigative unit has put into this case,” Puckett said. “Every lead that we have received has been investigated. There was very little evidence at the crime scene and while that evidence continued to be processed, Sgt. Shockley and Investigator Jones never stopped working to gather information on the individuals responsible for this horrific act.”

Puckett said the investigation was a puzzle of many pieces put together to form a picture of what happened on Nov. 14.

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