EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — The 45-year-old man beaten to death by a swarm of ATV and dirt bike riders in East Harlem was a dad on a date at the time of the fatal attack, a co-worker.
Arthur Cooke was surrounded and attacked around 10 p.m. on Nov. 4. He died on Nov. 18.
Cooke was a court special advocate for Exodus Transitional Community, an organization that assists people who have been incarcerated, according to LinkedIn.
“He was very much devoted to his family. He would call his mother every morning, call her beautiful and talk about his work,” Carmen Arroyo, senior director of ETC, said. “He had the love and compassion to help everyone in the community, especially those people who were in need and in trouble and needed someone to be their voice.”
Co-workers told PIX11 News the sad irony is that Cooke would’ve been the first to help troubled individuals, like those who savagely attacked him. Having served time in prison, Cooke was not only turning his life around, but he also devoted his life’s work to keeping others out of jail. Given his training, they add he would have tried to de-escalate the situation that night.
“There’s no telling what Arthur would’ve become given the opportunity and this is very sad,” Arroyo said. “Exodus lost someone they loved very much and he was very important to the whole community.”
A co-worker, Noel Diaz, said in a GoFundMe post seeking aid for Cooke’s family that Cooke was “on a date with his significant other” when he was attacked.
“He is a man that is full of laughs and full of hope,” Diaz said in the post, which was written before Cooke died.
Cooke was the father of a 6-year-old boy, according to Exodus. He loved playing poker and watching comedies.
“Arthur was a beloved member of our community and we are all devastated by the loss. Like so many people at Exodus, we considered Arthur a member of our family, and his story is similar to the thousands of others we serve,” Exodus Founder and Executive Director Julio Medina said. “We watched as his mindset shifted from one of hopelessness since serving his sentence to one of hope and aspirations, and he was always helping his participants do the same. To Arthur, the value of his work was apparent when he got to see the joy that those he helped realized that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That meant everything to Arthur.”
Exodus plans to collect funds for anyone who wants to donate. A spokesperson said donations would go to Cooke’s son. Anyone interested in donating can be brought to the Exodus Human Resources office (2271 Third Ave) over the next two weeks. There’s also a GoFundMe.
“Broke my heart, all I think about is his son. He was a very loving father and hands on dad,” friend William Steele said. “That was his pride and joy.”
No arrests have been made as of Wednesday morning. Police have not yet released any images or descriptions of the suspects.
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