PORLAND, OR (KPTV) – Portland police officers stormed into a packed gym Monday morning, arresting a man wanted in connection to a murder in Washington, according to investigators.
“The gym is one of the last places you would expect police to come in and arrest somebody,” said Matthew Garvin, who was running on a treadmill when police entered the 24 Hour Fitness on Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard.
Thomas E. Cooper, 31, was wanted in connection to a murder in the Seattle area and arrested Monday at the 24-Hour Fitness on the 4500 block of Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard, according to officers.
Cooper was taken into custody without incident by the Gun Violence Reduction team Monday afternoon and lodged at the Multnomah County Jail.
Officers said they found a loaded handgun in his gym locker.
"Two cops run past me," Garvin said. "I look over, and then six or seven more show up."
Garvin says that despite large police presence, most people inside the gym remained calm.
“My heart started going,” Garvin added. “I’m going to harness this energy and pound it out on the treadmill.”
Investigators would not comment on the details of the out-of-state case. However, a spokesperson says Lakewood Police Department is leading that murder investigation.
Cooper was arrested on the out-of-state warrant and is facing local charges including unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a loaded firearm in public.
Fox 12 has learned the murder suspect was arrested years ago in Portland on similar gun charges.
During a 2012 traffic stop, officers found two handguns, one of them stolen, under the floorboard of a Mercedes Cooper and another man were riding in.
Police arrested both men and, at the time, said the two were known gang associates and the Mercedes was outfitted with bulletproof armor.
A PPB spokesperson says it was not a tip that led to Cooper’s latest arrest, rather "good old-fashioned police work."
However, police officials want to remind everyone that Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest in a felony criminal case.
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