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Lacrosse player Devin Cook remembered as motivated and popular

Devin Cook's community college lacrosse coach said that the 20-year-old, a business major who was active in lacrosse leagues around the city, wanted to use sports as a way of getting a scholarship and completing college.

He had recently earned enough — he worked two jobs — to buy a car and was taking his fellow lacrosse players at the Community College of Baltimore County home after a game last Thursday night. They were stopped in the car on Wilern Avenue in Park Heights when a gunman killed Mr. Cook and wounded his passenger, a fellow lacrosse player.

"Devin was everything we wanted from a prospect in our program," said Bob Zopp, head lacrosse coach at CCBC's Catonsville campus, where Mr. Cook was studying in business and had played lacrosse for the past year. "He was so motivated. He was a full-time student, a full-time athlete and a full-time worker. He was also a happy-go-lucky kid."

The coach said Mr. Cook was conscientious about scheduling his time.

"He'd text me when he thought he might be late," Mr. Zopp said. "Then he'd arrive 10 minutes early."

The coach also said Mr. Cook set a goal of making a good life and career for himself.

"He saw that lacrosse would be a way to get him through a college and to go on from there," Mr. Zopp said.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Cook was the son of Linwood Davis and Rhonda Cook, who works in special education at Northwestern High School. He attended Pimlico Middle School, where he learned to play lacrosse. He was a 2012 graduate of the National Academy Foundation school in East Baltimore.

As a teen, he played for the Warriors Lacrosse Club, a citywide team that played at Carroll Park and the Frederick Douglass High School fields.

He attended Anne Arundel Community College and transferred to CCBC in Catonsville.

Family members said he had also coached lacrosse at the Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy as a way to help put himself through school. He also volunteered teaching lacrosse to special-needs students at the Green Street Academy.

Mr. Cook worked in visitor services at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore for nearly three years. He also had a second job as a bar back at the Stalking Horse tavern on Cross Street.

"When he came to us, he was a shy young man," said Donald P. Hutchinson, zoo president. "He always carried a backpack with a lacrosse stick. He worked very hard, and he became extremely popular with our guests and with our staff."

He worked at the giraffe feeding station and assisted people boarding the zoo's tram.

"After working here, he showed the kind of outgoing personality that you wanted to put out there, in front of people," Mr. Hutchinson said.

Mr. Hutchinson said that on Friday morning, when word of his death circulated among his co-workers, they cried.

"They told me he was a young man who had a special relationship with them," he said. "People expected good things to come from him over the short and long run."

"He had a big smile. He was the kind of kid you knew was something special," said Donnie Brown, a lacrosse coach for the Blax Lax team and other lacrosse organizations that Mr. Cook participated in. "He had a firm handshake and he said, 'Yes, sir' and 'No, sir.' He had character. I trusted him."

Mr. Brown said a Devin Cook Memorial Lacrosse Tournament will be staged next year in his name.

Yolanda Jones, a friend, said Mr. Cook was a member of a large family, and he talked up playing sports among the clan's younger members.

"He was the advertiser for sports in the Cook family," she said. "He was a mature young man. He had a soul that surpassed his age."

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Brown's Memorial Baptist Church, 3215 W. Belvedere Ave.

Survivors include his parents; two brothers, Linwood Davis and Darwin Cook; a sister, Kaeira Davis; his grandparents, Earl and Linda Johnson and Ronald and Shirley Cook; and two great-grandmothers, Mary C. Cook and Hazel Redditt. All live in Baltimore.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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