A Wisconsin gas station co-owner said Brian Cooper was calm and polite when he came into her business Sunday afternoon to report the murder of his girlfriend.
Cooper, 35, is due in court Tuesday afternoon to be formally charged in the death of Alisha N. Bromfield, 21.
Police in Door County said both Cooper and Bromfield have Plainfield mailing addresses and were in Wisconsin to attend Cooper’s sister’s wedding.
On Tuesday, Door County Sheriff Terry Vogel told the Door County Advocate that Bromfield was about 6-1/2 months pregnant with a baby girl when she was killed. A family friend of Bromfield’s said Cooper was not the father of the baby.
According to the Chicago Tribune, an autopsy revealed Bromfield’s cause of death was suffocation. It will be up to the Door County District Attorney to determine whether Cooper will be charged with two counts of murder due to Bromfield’s pregnancy, Vogel said.
Denise Bhirdo, co-owner of Bhirdo’s Shell station in Sister Bay said Cooper was wearing jeans and a T-shirt and appeared barefoot when he walked into the gas station around noon Sunday and asked her to dial 911 for him.
The reason Cooper gave when she asked him why might have rattled most people, but Bhirdo said she stayed calm.
“He said he needed to report a murder,” Bhirdo said, adding she immediately called and relayed that information to a 911 dispatcher before handing the telephone over the counter to Cooper.
“He was standing in front of the counter and I was behind it,” Bhirdo said.
According to Vogel, Cooper admitted to killing Bromfield, but Bhirdo said he was polite and calm as he spoke to the dispatcher.
“At one point, though, I would say about five to 10 minutes after talking on the phone, he kind of dropped to his knees on the floor and started to get a bit emotional,” she said.
Bhirdo, who continued to wait on Shell station customers as Cooper spoke to the dispatcher, said she offered him a cordless phone so he could talk more privately. Cooper switched phones with her and moved into one of the aisles, Bhirdo said.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Cooper was reporting a crime he had witnessed or something he had committed.
“When he first came in, there were three things that came to my mind,” Bhirdo said. “First, is he delusional? Second, did he witness a murder? And third, did he commit a murder?”
Bhirdo said she did not hear Cooper actually confess to killing Bromfield.
“A couple of things that he had said to the dispatcher led me to believe that he had done it,” said Bhirdo, who is also Sister Bay village president. “That was my deduction.”
Bhirdo said she continued to wait on customers, who did not appear to notice anything was amiss.
“People came and went,” she said. “I remained extremely calm once I heard him say that, because I didn’t want to agitate the situation.”
Bhirdo said she wasn’t entirely sure how long it took police to arrive at the gas station, estimating Cooper had been in the store about 20 minutes when officers entered the building with their guns drawn.
It wasn’t until then that Bhirdo became alarmed, she said.
“Just like out of a cop show on television, with very loud, raised voices, they ordered him to drop to the floor,” she said. “That’s when I started to get rattled. I thought, ‘OK, the police are here, and he did something really awful.’”
Bhirdo said officers searched Cooper, who did not appear to be armed, before handcuffing him and taking him away.
After the ordeal, Bhirdo said she called her sister, gas station co-owner Michelle Bhirdo-Pluff, and asked her to take over her duties at the cash register.
She said police questioned her for about 40 minutes following the incident.
Cooper due in court Tuesday
Around the time Cooper was taken into custody, deputies discovered Bromfield’s body in a motel room at a resort about 35 miles from Sister Bay, Vogel said.
Cooper was due in Door County court Tuesday afternoon.
View full post on Plainfield Patch