New York prison escape: Sgt. Jay Cook hailed as hero for shooting fugitive

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

 Sgt. Jay Cook knows the densely forested terrain of upstate New York. He's spent most of his career patrolling in the region.

That's what the New York State Police sergeant was doing Sunday afternoon when he spotted prison escapee David Sweat jogging along the side of a road.

It wasn't long, police said, before Cook sprang into action, chasing Sweat on foot and opening fire just as he seemed about to slip away into the woods.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hailed Sgt. Jay Cook a hero. (New York State Police)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hailed Sgt. Jay Cook a hero. (New York State Police)

"He realized that Sweat was going to make it to a tree line and could have possibly disappeared," New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico told reporters, praising the police sergeant for his quick thinking that led to Sweat's capture.

"He did an excellent job," D'Amico said. "I think he did a very courageous and brave act of policing."

Cook, a 21-year veteran of the force who spent most of his career based in Malone, New York, was alone when he spotted Sweat, D'Amico said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said called the sergeant to congratulate him on his "great police work" Sunday. Speaking to reporters Sunday evening, the governor described the conversation.

"I said to Sgt. Cook, who has two daughters, 16 and 17, I said, 'Well, you go home tonight and tell your daughters that you're a hero,' " Cuomo said. "With teenage girls, that'll probably last a good 24 hours, and then you'll just go back to being a regular dad."