Officials say Evans fire likely arson/suicide

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Columbia County authorities said an 18-year-old Evans man apparently took his own life after setting his parents' home on fire Thursday.

"Evidence suggests arson/suicide," Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said. "It remains an open death investigation. It is premature to rule anything out, or in for that matter."

A passerby called in the fire at 997 Windmill Lane about 4:30 a.m. Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue personnel found the body of Alexander Blake Cooper inside.

Capt. Morris said Mr. Cooper, who had previously attended Greenbrier High School, had what "appears to be a gunshot wound to the head. ... A weapon was recovered from the scene."

An autopsy performed at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Augusta determined that Mr. Cooper died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Columbia County Deputy Coroner Bonnie Holloway said.

Mr. Cooper's parents, with whom he shared the home, were out of state at the time.

The fire started in a front bedroom of the two-story brick home in the Windmill Plantation subdivision, said Honey Shore, a Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue spokeswoman. Mr. Cooper's body was found in another room.

Firefighters quickly got the blaze under control and contained most of the fire damage to the front bedroom.

Martinez-Columbia fire investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

The state Fire Marshal's Office was called in to assist with the investigation, Ms. Shore said.

Reach Valerie Rowell at (706) 868-1222, ext. 110 or valerie.rowell@augustachronicle.com.

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jsherrill
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jsherrill 10/16/09 - 01:40 am
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Heartfelt sorrow to his

Heartfelt sorrow to his family. Sad that problems seem so large that the only way out is suicide. We may never know what drove him to this desperate act.

BOBO
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BOBO 10/16/09 - 09:23 am
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God be with the family

God be with the family

amnewman
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amnewman 10/16/09 - 11:02 am
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Augusta chronicle please

Augusta chronicle please disallow comments on these types of articles. The family just needs peace.

Truth Be Told In Bold
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Truth Be Told In Bold 10/16/09 - 01:56 pm
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freedom of the press - an

freedom of the press - an interesting concept.

Shika87
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Shika87 10/16/09 - 02:17 pm
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Wow!! This is sooo sad!! I

Wow!! This is sooo sad!! I knew him. My lil brother use to play with him when we were little!!! He was such a great person!! His parents raised him to not be selfish and appreciate what he had! Its such a tragic when something like this happens! I have children of my own now and i really couldnt deal with wat they are going thru right now! I send his parents my prayers!! May god be with u thru this tough time!! And for those of u who have nothing good to say dont bother even leavin a comment!! Its not up to u to judge these parents on anything!! U cant blame anyone for wat happened!! Whos to say wat Blake was going thru and how long he was suffering with these problems inside!! Depression is a real disease and can hit anyone at any time!! Im someone whos speakin from experience!! I suffered from this painful problem for a while before i ever knew i had it!! And its not that easy to come out and say wat u feel!! Its even harder for teens because u dont want everyone thinkin ur crazy!! People these days have harsh judgements about everything!! So sometimes u feel its better to keep it to yourself!! I did and sometimes i still do!! So stop judgement! Ur no betta than the next man!!

Shika87
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Shika87 10/16/09 - 02:27 pm
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Lord be with Mr. and

Lord be with Mr. and Mrs.Cooper in their time of sorrow and pain!! We will miss Blake alot!! I wish we would have met bac up over the years but our lives put us in different states!! But i kno ill see u one day!!! Love you blake!!

old man river
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old man river 10/16/09 - 02:48 pm
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Suicide is the type of pain a

Suicide is the type of pain a family never recovers from. There is rarely a closure to it as there may be is other deaths. If you even THINK anyone is depressed, talk to them about it or ask them to talk to someone if they are showing signs. Sometimes it really IS a cry for help. Answer the call. I have been toting around guilt for years because I didn't. I beg the family to get some professional help. And God bless all of you.

soldout
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soldout 10/16/09 - 06:37 pm
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May the Cooper family be

May the Cooper family be blessed with emotional healing and the peace that only the Lord can give. If someone reading this suffers from depression there is lots of help other than drugs. There are methods that can create an outward focus in your life that will defeat depression.

leaveitatthedoor
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leaveitatthedoor 10/16/09 - 07:23 pm
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We are praying for this

We are praying for this family and praying for their son.

Jillian
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Jillian 10/16/09 - 07:45 pm
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The pain that young man

The pain that young man carried must have been horrific to commit such a violent act. I pray his family gets help they so desparately need.

PLEASE PEOPLE take ALL threats of suicide seriously. Such threats are a cry for help.

troutfly60
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troutfly60 10/17/09 - 03:16 pm
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Mine & my family's prayers

Mine & my family's prayers are with the Coopers in this sorrowful time. May GOD give them the peace that no other can...

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