A short time later, as Cooper left the party, he was approached by the unknown subject and a white male later identified as Downs. Downs confronted Cooper and a physical altercation ensued.
During the fight, Downs brandished a small-caliber handgun and fired several shots, striking Cooper in the lower back, according to police. Downs then began to strike Cooper over the head as he laid in the street. As witnesses began to gather, Downs and the unidentified male entered a white-colored pickup truck and fled the scene.
Cooper was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center where he was treated for injuries from the gunshot wounds. He is currently listed in stable condition.
Downs is wanted by authorities and faces felony charges of aggravated battery with a firearm, discharging a firearm in public and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Anyone with knowledge of this incident or the whereabouts of Downs is asked to contact the Bartow Police Department at 863-534-5034 or Heartland Crimestoppers at 800-226-TIPS.