(2 Total References)
NAACP organizes forum on shooting
Cogoni: The 23-year-old officer, shown in a high school photo, is taking the shooting 'very hard,' the police chief says.
is on paid administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office
investigate the shooting.Cogoni
was randomly assigned an off-duty security detail Saturday at the Delray Full Service Center
, an alternative school.
fired at least one fatal shot into the car.
The department then will conduct an internal affairs investigation to determine whether Cogoni
broke any department rules.
"Darren's just always been a great kid," said Joe Lawson, who has known Cogoni
for 13 years and used to pay him to cut his grass.
Although new to the force, Cogoni
is "very level-headed.He's
...After graduating from Atlantic High School, Cogoni briefly attended Palm Beach Community College and then worked at AmTrust Bank, according to his personnel file.Lawson said Cogoni was excited about becoming a police officer and worked hard to achieve his goal.
job application, Cogoni
described community service as "a lifelong dream" and said he
wanted to work for the Delray Beach force because it is "rich in history and cultural diversity."
"I have aspired to serve my community by assisting in times of need and bettering my community for the enjoyment of everyone, regardless of race, religion or creed," he
weakest trait as a tendency to "sell myself short."
continued, "As I achieve more in life every day, I win the battle towards realizing that I am capable of tremendous achievements."
Classmate says officer in shooting 'not a racist'
Like scores of his classmates at Atlantic High School, Darren Cogoni did little to distinguish himself from his peers.He
wasn't voted most studious, most spirited or even most reliable.
But had there been a vote for the student least likely to be embroiled in controversy, former classmates and teachers say, Cogoni
would have been at the top of their list.
fired the fatal shots as the black youth drove through an open-air hallway at the Delray Full Service Center high school
after dropping off friends at a dance.
That the 23-year-old has become a symbol for all that is wrong with race relations in Delray Beach has only added to the surreal nature of the events that now swirl around the young man many say they know simply as a quiet, well-mannered guy who went out of his
way to stay out of the way of others.
'I know he's
not a racist,' LeFerrera said. 'I knew many racists in high school and he
wasn't one of them.'
...'He was working all the time,' said Marianne Burks, who has lived two doors down from Cogoni and his family on a quiet cul-de-sac in suburban Boynton Beach for six years.
The only candid photograph of Cogoni
in his senior yearbook shows him standing with Redgrave in front of a Christmas tree.
worked part-time jobs in high school repairing bicycles, according to his
application to become a Delray police officer.Shortly before graduating, he got a sales job at an Office Depot in Boca Raton.Seeking better pay and more flexible hours so he could attend classes at Palm Beach Community College, he went to work at AmTrust Bank in suburban Boca Raton.
But after working at the bank for about three years, he
felt the pull to become a law enforcement officer, according to his
was hired on March 29, 2004, went through the police academy and had been released to patrol by himself only on Feb. 3.He
was working an off-duty assignment on the night of the shooting.
was attracted to Delray Beach because of its racial diversity.
'I would be extremely proud earning the ability to serve on a force with the prestige that this department has earned, and serve a community rich in history and cultural diversity,' he
wrote on his
also pointed out that his
expertise with firearms would help him serve the city.
'With firearms being my most beloved hobby, I have a fair amount of knowledge in the care, safe operation and varieties of firearms,' he
According to state records, he
obtained a concealed-weapons permit on Feb. 18, 2003, nine months before he
applied for a job with the police department.
Police who have weighed in on the shooting express outrage that it is being portrayed as a racist incident.
...Cogoni is represented by attorney Scott Richardson, who gained fame by winning an acquittal for one of two police officers charged in the 1990 beating death of Robert Jewett, one of the most infamous cases of police brutality in West Palm Beach history.