6-Jun-10 Although still under investigation, Chicago Police have for now classified the fall from the west tower of Marina City last month as a suicide.
According to the case incident report obtained by Marina City Online through a Freedom of Information Act request, John W. Cooper left behind few clues when he most likely jumped from the west tower at 9:48 a.m. on May 12. On the roof, police found a camera and eyeglasses, which they believe could have belonged to Cooper. In his wallet was a Michigan Drivers License and a key card used presumably to access a location that was redacted.
When a police officer arrived three minutes later, Chicago Fire Department personnel were already on the scene. Cooper was pronounced dead by CFD at 9:58 a.m. and this was confirmed by a medical examiner on the scene at 10:42 a.m. After being cut out of a van on which he landed, the body was removed from the scene at 12:05 p.m. and taken to the Cook County Medical Examiners office.
Cooper was described by police as a 28-year-old white male, five-feet-seven-inches tall, 160 pounds, brown eyes, brown medium-length hair, and reddish complexion.
An obituary published on May 16 in The Detroit News said Cooper was attending law school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He was originally from the Detroit area. He had one sister and was engaged to a 26-year-old woman recently living in the Minneapolis area.
It is not known why he ended up at Marina City or exactly how he gained access to the building, although an unguarded (except for surveillance camera) plaza-level entrance has been a concern of residents for a long time.
Once on the roof, Cooper would have found the east half the roof covered by ropes supporting concrete restoration workers on scaffolds on that side of the building. Turning to his left, Cooper would only have had to climb over a 54-inch railing.
He landed on a white Chevy Express van that was at Marina City to deliver and pick up laundry from Marina Cleaners.
||(Left) West side of roof of west tower at Marina City.
Cooper portrayed as happy, hopeful
His web site, johnwcooper.com, offers no evidence of a suicidal personality. Some people call me John, others call me Coop or Coops, begins the About Me section.
A former University of Michigan student remembered Cooper as an extremely intelligent, outgoing, and thoughtful guy. He was the type that seemed like he valued friendships.
Cooper had written college papers on Right to Work laws, the Electoral College, whether flag burning was protected by the First Amendment, and motivations of President Truman for using the atomic bomb in World War II.
Describing himself, Cooper says he grew up in West Bloomfield, Michigan, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan with a masters degree in accounting, and was a CPA. His interests included comedy, politics, wine, photography, playing sports such as tennis, racquetball, and soccer, and card games such as poker and euchre. His favorite quotes leaned toward the inspirational from such figures as Mark Twain.
At his high school graduation, he says he was voted most likely to appear on Jeopardy.
Cooper also created a web-based guide to events and activities in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Related story: Accident ruled out in fall at Marina Towers