July 14, 2009
Family remembers shooting victim as trusting,
By Brandon Stahl
To Katie Cooney, Curtis was the best brother in
the world; to his parents, the best son they could ever ask for.
But to Michael Curtis Cooney, who will be 2 next month, he was just
On Monday, the day after his father was gunned
down, Michael asked several times where his Dah-dah was, but no
one really knew what to tell him.
“We have no idea what to say,” said
Curtis’ mother, Heidi Cooney.
“We’ll try to be Curtis for him,”
Katie Cooney said.
The Cooneys said Monday they lost someone who
was loving, trusting and willing to do anything for anybody.
“I don’t know anybody that didn’t
like Curtis who met Curtis,” Katie Cooney said. “We’ve
literally seen him give someone the shirt off his back.”
His record wasn’t spotless, however. According
to St. Louis County District Court records, Curtis Cooney was convicted
in November of first-degree burglary and first-degree burglary with
a dangerous weapon. He was placed on five years’ probation.
His parents said Cooney, who graduated in 2005
from Denfeld, was perhaps too trusting. He had a mild form of autism
and often didn’t distinguish between people who were safe
to be with and those who weren’t, they said.
“Everybody was a good person in Curtis eyes,”
said his father, Michael Cooney. “He didn’t see the
dangers in things.”
That’s perhaps why he was with “a
friend of a friend,” his parents said, at a gathering in the
Central Hillside on Sunday night.
“I told him, you’re going to be at
the wrong place at the wrong time,” his mother said. “And
that’s what happened.”
By all accounts, Curtis Cooney was at the apartment
for about an hour and had nothing to do with an earlier scuffle
in the neighborhood. His family said a doctor told them the gunshot
to the back of his head left him brain damaged almost immediately
and his body shut down soon after.
“There was nothing they could have ever
done,” his father said.
The pain from Curtis Cooney’s death was
still raw Monday, as family and friends gathered at the home on
the 500 block of 27th Avenue West where he grew up and was living
with his parents and helping to raise his son.
“We were a very, very tight family,”
his dad said.
Because Cooney spent Sunday with friends, the
last time his family saw him was Saturday, they said — unusual,
because they normally saw him every day. Now they’re wondering
how to cope without him.
“I can’t cope with it,” said
Katie Cooney. “It’s just so unfair that somebody would
cold-blooded murder my brother.”
“I hope they realize that Curtis son will
never know him,” she said.
His mother said knowing her son had faith in God
will ease her pain.
“He was such a wonderful human being,”
she said. “And I’m grateful God gave him to us for as
long as he did.”
Said his dad: “I’ll keep him alive
through my heart and through my grandson.”