Family turns in man accused of brutally beating Phoenix phone store employee

Police say the man who attacked a Phoenix cellphone store worker was turned into authorities by family members, who say they tried to help him.
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 7:24 AM MST|Updated: Jun. 8, 2022 at 11:41 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Police have identified the suspect arrested in connection to the brutal beating of a woman at a Cricket Wireless store in Phoenix. Police say 33-year-old Michael Cook attempted to rob the cellphone store near 43rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road on Saturday around 5:15 p.m. After punching and kicking a woman multiple times, he left the scene with stolen items.

Court documents say Cook hit the woman 13 times in the head and face. As she was hit, she dropped her phone, and Cook picked it up. Police say the woman managed to escape by running to a local business to call for help. She suffered a broken nose and needed stitches for a cut on her face.

Cook’s brother, Malik Cook, says he wasn’t surprised and that his brother suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and won’t take his medication consistently. “We’ve been trying to get him help, he doesn’t take it, and then when we hope when he is outside, he doesn’t go and abuse people,” Malik said.

Malik says Michael is also addicted to drugs. He lives with his mother and two uncles and won’t allow Michael into their Glendale home. “We felt in danger before. We really didn’t want him here,” Malik said. “When you see my mom, she got that cut right here, she got a whole cut, tore her mouth up with a phone, threw it at her,” he continued.

He hopes this arrest is a turning point for his brother. “Either you figure out a better decision for how you live, or you end up in there the rest of your life,” Malik said, referring to prison.

Garciela Cejuda, an employee of the business the woman ran to, said that she heard the woman screaming as she was being beaten. “You could hear the girl screaming; the truth is it was very, very loud,” Cejudo said. “And I stopped and grabbed the phone.” She said that when she heard the screams, she started calling 911 and while on the phone, the woman came inside looking for help. She said the woman asked her to lock the door and call the police. “I grabbed the keys quick as I could. There was a customer coming, so I quickly locked it,” Cejudo said.

Court paperwork says that Cook went into the back of the store and took two phones out of a safe. He also took all the cash out of the register before taking off. By reviewing surveillance footage, police identified Cook and arrested him.

In an interview with detectives, the woman told officers that she had seen Cook in the area several times and believed he was homeless. The woman also told investigators that she had given him a government-paid phone in the past and had been in several times to report his phone as stolen to get a new one. However, court paperwork said that she had “never had any issues with him in the past.”

Cook has been booked into Maricopa County Jail on charges including robbery, assault, and kidnapping.