GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Rita Cooper gasped and then began to cry as she watched her son's face appear on a television screen inside a Kent County courtroom Monday afternoon as she waited to hear the inevitable.
Jermaine Cooper, 35, suspected of shooting and killing his long-time girlfriend on the city's north east side last month, was arraigned on open murder charges along with felony firearms charges. The judge said Cooper was a habitual offender with three previous felony convictions.
Cooper had been on the run from police for nearly a month prior to his arraignment Monday afternoon. The judge denied Cooper's bond.
Melissa Moore, 31, was found shot to death in the middle of the street near Knapp and Truxton NE on Nov. 6 around 4 a.m.
Moore was the mother of two children. Moore and Cooper shared one of the children.
“Everybody involved is hurting," Rita Cooper said. "Not just my family, but Melissa’s family. We’re all hurt. I don’t know what else to say but, that’s not him.”
Investigators said a city street sweeping crew called 911 after witnessing part of the incident. They were clearing debris at the time of the shooting. Moore was found dead in the street when officials arrived at the scene.
Witnesses told police they saw someone shoot Moore, then get into a dark colored vehicle and speed off; investigators are unclear if there was anyone else with the shooter.
Using words like 'kind' and 'sweet' to describe him, Cooper's family said they don't believe he'd be capable of murder.
"No I don’t, that’s not his character," his mother told FOX 17 on Monday. “He’s the kind of person who… was always trying to keep the peace. That’s just how he was.”
On Friday, Cooper was engaged in an hours-long standoff with police and FBI agents in Detroit before being arrested. Cooper barricaded himself in an abandoned home for about seven hours.
During the standoff, police told the man that his family was worried about him.
Family of Moore told FOX 17 Friday evening they had no clue where he might've been hiding.
"I thought he was in another state, plus he has a history of hiding from police from all of his history," Moore's aunt said Friday.
Cooper is due back in court Dec. 18 for a probable cause hearing where a judge will likely determine whether there's enough evidence to proceed to trial.