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Man, woman charged in Monessen shooting

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 1:51 a.m.
Jodi Cook

MONESSEN – Police on Tuesday charged a city woman with attempted murder while identifying an alleged shooter who critically wounded a city man Saturday.

Jodi Lynn Cook, 35, with a last known address of 532 Rostraver St., is accused of setting up Brian Simpson, 41. Simpson was shot multiple times in the chest late Saturday night at a rented house on 637 Summit Ave.

Police identified the alleged shooter as Derrick Courtney Jones, 27, whose last known address is 5306 Colombo St., Pittsburgh. Jones goes by the street name “Tall Boy,” Monessen police Chief John Mandarino said. Jones is 6-foot-2.

Monessen police said Jones and two other black males from the Homewood section of Pittsburgh came after Simpson over drug money they thought he owed.

Simpson was in critical condition Tuesday night at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, according to a spokeswoman.

Cook is charged with attempted homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. She was held at the Monessen police station Tuesday evening. Mandarino said she would be transported to Westmoreland County Prison overnight.

Her arraignment was scheduled Wednesday in Monessen before Magisterial District Judge Joseph Dalfonso, Mandarino said.

In the meantime, police are searching for Jones, who faces charges of attempted homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and firearms not to be carried without a license.

Police said that prior to the shooting, Cook allegedly allowed three suspects into a residence at 221 Luce Ave., Monessen to sell drugs. The property owner was in jail. According to an affidavit of probable cause, Cook told a female friend the men were upstairs and “if these (guys) wake up, it won't work.” She said Cook owed them money.

Police said the night of the shooting, Cook contacted the friend and asked for Simpson's location.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Monessen Lt. James Smith arrived at the shooting scene, where Simpson was lying on the kitchen floor. Simpson was conscious and told Smith, “Jodi Cook. Jodi set me up, Jodi and those (guys) from Homewood.”

Police said Cook told a Westmoreland County detective she had called Simpson and told him to come to the Summit Avenue house so she could pay money she owed him. The three men from Homewood arrived afterward.

Cook admitted she was helping the three sell dope in Monessen and that she had owed them money, before telling the detective, “I did not know they were going to shoot him,” according to the affidavit.

A female witness who was in the house during the shooting told investigators she was in the kitchen with Simpson and Cook when the latter went to the front door and came in with the three men.

The woman said there were no immediate problems, telling police she did not hear a knock.

Cook then went outside with the three men before they came back inside without her, police said. The witness then heard Simpson scream, “Why are you going to shoot me?” according to the affidavit.

Simpson turned to run out the kitchen door, which the witness said Cook had locked and fastened a dead bolt. She said the door usually remained open because there is no air conditioning. The tallest of the three men, thought to be Jones, then shot Simpson in the back.

Police said one of the suspects known only as “Diesel” said: “I told you (expletive) not to mess with us” before all three left the house.

Another witness who was outside heard the shots then ran and hid behind a green Ford Explorer, police said. The three suspects ran to the Explorer and took off, with Jones driving.

Right after the shooting, two females went to Simpson and he told them to take drugs and $700 to $1,000 in cash from his pockets, before asking “Why did Jodi get me shot and killed?” the affidavit said.

Police said one of the females met Cook outside and handed her the money and drugs before Cook stated she would protect her.

After obtaining a search warrant, a Westmoreland County detective recovered one .45-caliber shell casing in the kitchen.

Before the alleged shooting, Jones was awaiting a preliminary hearing in August on charges of carrying firearms without a license, receiving stolen property and two traffic citations related to a May 31 traffic stop in Allegheny County.

He posted $5,000 bond on June 2, according to court records.

Cook is awaiting a July 19 preliminary hearing before Dalfonso on a charge of use/possession of drug paraphernalia.

Mandarino said the investigation into the shooting is ongoing as police seek the identities of the other two suspects.

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2635.