Orlando police officer honored for saving suicidal veteran

Officer Wesley Cook honored with Award of Commendation

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando police officer is being honored for saving the life of a veteran who was threatening to commit suicide.

On Sept. 3, Officer Wesley Cook responded to the report of an armed, suicidal man who was holding a knife to his throat in the 400 block of West Amelia Street. 

The disabled veteran was demanding that officers kill him or he would do it himself.

Cook's body camera was recording during the two-hour interaction.

"Put it down, Sarge. That's the mission is to put your knife down. Put the knife down Sarge, focus on that mission," Cook said. "Put it down, put it down on the ground. You know that's your mission Sarge. Put it down."

Cook is a member of the crisis negotiations team. He said he tried talking the Marine veteran down by using his experience serving in the armed forces to connect with him. 

"I just wanted to get through to him. At first he wasn't talking to me, so I don't really know what he's thinking about. So I try to use any approach I can to get through to him and once I found a military hook, something that we could relate to, that's when he started opening up to me," Cook said. 

Cook eventually convinced the veteran to put the knife down and gave him a cigarette, saving the veteran's life.

Cook's actions were recognized Wednesday during the Orlando Police Department's Awards Ceremony. He was honored with the Award of Commendation.

"With him and his skills, as far as a military member, a member of the armed forces, was instrumental during this incident to be able to bring that individual back from a situation that he probably thought he had only one thing in mind which was to hurt himself and he was able to save him," Chief Orlando Rolon said. 

Cook said this is his job and he is glad that he could help a fellow veteran.

"As long as everybody goes home safe at the end of the day and I'm able to help somebody, that's all that matters," he said. 

The veteran was taken into custody under the Baker Act.

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