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Arrest, charges made in death of Mickey Cooper


Brother of former Laker Michael Cooper

A man has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of the younger brother of former Lakers star Michael Cooper at a Pasadena park.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced on Nov. 22 that Aaron Miguel Conell, 24, of Pasadena, was scheduled for arraignment on Nov. 27 in a Pasadena courtroom on a murder count stemming from the killing of Mickey Cooper, 64, at Washington Park.

Conell is also charged with one count of attempted murder involving an alleged attack early Oct. 29 on a man who was shot in the neck at Washington Park, and one count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm for allegedly walking up to a car and pointing a gun at a man seated in the driver's seat at a gas station in Pasadena just before 9:30 p.m. Nov. 5, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Mickey Cooper was found at 4 a.m. Saturday suffering from gunshot wounds after Pasadena police responded to a ShotSpotter gunshot detection alert in the 700 block of East Washington Boulevard, between Lake and El Molino avenues. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim's brother, Michael, was a defensive stalwart during the Lakers' “Showtime '' championship era in the 1980s. After his playing career ended, he had various coaching positions, including as coach of the Los Angeles Sparks, guiding them to two WNBA titles. He is now the boys' basketball coach at Culver City High School.

“We lived 10 houses down (from) here,'' Michael Cooper told ABC7, referring to Washington Park. “This is a park where we grew up playing. That's why he felt comfortable and safe here.''

The ex-Laker said his brother struggled for several years with drug addiction.

“`We tried to help him all through this process,'' Michael Cooper told ABC7. “And he chose to live this life, but that doesn't mean that somebody can come take his life.''

Conell was taken into custody late last Saturday by Pasadena police. He remains jailed in lieu of $4.25 million bail.

Police coordinated an arrest operation with members of the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force and the department's SWAT and K-9 units, according to Pasadena police Lt. Monica Cuellar.

Conell was initially booked at the Pasadena City Jail on suspicion of assault with a firearm, but detectives obtained additional evidence so he was additionally booked on suspicion of murder, Cuellar said.

Conell could face more than 50 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney's Office.