A Marine serving in a war zone in Iraq rushed back home to be with his pregnant wife Friday after she was wounded in an apparent random shooting in a supermarket parking lot.
“You can only imagine how it would make me feel, being where I was at,” Lance Cpl. Justin Cook, 23, said.
The Marine was pulled from his combat unit in Fallujah on Monday, and told his wife Julia, 21, had been shot in the head. She is due to deliver the couple’s son in February.
Justin Cook said his mind raced at the news — “a whole whirlwind of emotions, from anger (to) fear.”
After three sleepless nights of travel, the Marine was at his wife’s bedside Friday in the York Hospital intensive-care unit, where a nursing supervisor said she was in serious condition.
Authorities said Julia Cook, who had been living with her parents in Mannsville, N.Y., while awaiting the birth of her son, was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was visiting high school friends Sunday night when someone opened fire with a shotgun, then drove away.
Noel Gomez, 19, arrested six hours later, told detectives he decided ahead of time on a location where he wanted to kill someone, according to his arrest affidavit. He is jailed without bond, charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.
The York public defender’s office said Friday that Gomez’s lawyer was unavailable for comment.
Gomez’s relatives told the York Daily Record he had been exhibiting unusual behavior for the past five years.
“I feel sorry for him, I really do,” Justin Cook said.
The Marine said his wife had one operation and more are expected. They have been married almost two years, and have picked out a name for their son — Calvin.
“She is quite the feisty fighter, and she doesn’t let anything get her down,” Cook said.