Police pay restaurant tab, get homicide case

Phoenix police say two officers' decision to pay for a troubled man's restaurant tab led to his being arrested in his roommate's stabbing death.

Officers were called to a Phoenix restaurant near 19th Drive and Northern on Wednesday concerning a man who wouldn't pay his bill.  When they arrived at the scene, they were directed to Mykel Cooper, who had eaten, but had no money to pay for the meal.

According to court records, Cooper's behavior led the officers to believe he had some type of mental health issues.

Authorities say Cooper, 23, indicated he had a mental health case worker and requested to be transferred to a nearby facility. 

"Because of the circumstances, the officers believed the situation would best be resolved through mental health assistance rather than jail.  The officers paid the bill and tip with their own money and then transported Cooper to the behavioral health facility and turned him over to the staff there," stated Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson.

While he was there, Cooper told the staff "he had done something bad to his roommate," and they contacted the police.

Just after 9 p.m., officers arrived at his apartment near 21st Avenue and Morton to find the body of 29-year-old Steven Horkovy, who appeared to have been stabbed to death.

During the investigation, detectives learned the stabbing occurred on December 30th.

Cooper was taken into custody and admitted involvement in the crime.  He was later booked into the Maricopa County Jail and is facing a first-degree murder charge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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