Family pays tribute to Uber Eats driver killed in ‘demonic’ delivery attack: ‘I knew something was wrong’

·3-min read
Uber Eats driver Randal Cooke was killed by a member of MS-13 gang in Florida (Screengrab/ 10 Tampa Bay)
Uber Eats driver Randal Cooke was killed by a member of MS-13 gang in Florida (Screengrab/ 10 Tampa Bay)

The family members of a 59-year-old slain Uber Eats driver remembered him as the "most perfect man" who worked hard to support his family’s dreams.

Randall 'Randy' Cooke was making his last delivery on 19 April in Holiday, Florida, when police believe he was dragged inside and killed in an attempted robbery.

Pasco County police said Cooke was “yanked” into the home of 30-year-old parolee Oscar Solis while completing his food delivery.

Cooke's remains were found at the house in trash bags and a cooler, which also contained a receipt with Solis's name on it, according to a police affidavit.

Solis, an alleged member of the MS-13 criminal gang, was charged with killing the driver, sheriff Chris Nocco said at a news conference. “This was a horrific crime of passion,” Sheriff Nocco told reporters. “This was demonic. What he did was demonic.”

Kathy Cooke, the wife of the slain delivery driver described her husband as an "angel". Ms Cooke said she called her husband after 7pm and knew something was wrong when both his phones went straight to voicemail.

"I knew something was wrong right then and there," she said. "If you’re an Uber driver, you have two phones and a charger. I called the police."

Ms Cooke said the last week has been a blur as she couldn't recall which day the police told her about her husband's death.

"I came into the house and broke down on my hands and knees screaming at the top of my lungs," she told Fox News. "My mind circuited it out and wouldn’t accept it.

Cooke’s stepdaughter Melany Dzoba remembered him as “the most perfect man” and partner to her mother.

“[He was] such a happy guy. I mean, we all go through our ups and downs. We’re all still human, but he just – he was always just so happy and just trying to have fun and laugh – all the time,” she told WFTS.

Ms Dzoba said Cooke met her mother in 2012, and eight years later, the “perfect” couple tied the knot in 2020.

“[It was] a relationship I could always hope for,” she said. “Just conjoined at the hip. Soulmates until the very end.”

"I still have a voicemail on my phone from last Monday of just his voice and him telling me how much he loves me and how much he’s there for me," she said tearfully.

Cooke’s other stepdaughter, Brittany Dzoba, shared that the retiree moved to Paso from Seminole County last year to be closer to the ocean in order to fulfill his family's dream of living near the ocean.

He was a graphic designer by trade, but also carried out deliveries to bring in some extra income, Ms Dzoba said. “He just had to do anything he could to make ends meet, you know,” she said, adding that “Randy just made everything better”.

Meanwhile, the suspect faces charges of murder while engaged in a robbery, failure to register as a convicted felon and a parole violation, jail records show.

Solis was released from an Indiana prison in January after serving four years for an assault and burglary conviction, Nocco said. He moved to the Florida home about three months ago.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Cooke’s family deal with expenses.