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Attorney General Charges DNR Officer for Off-Duty Campsite Shooting
December 12, 2023
LANSING – Today, Ryan Cox, 22, of Mancelona, was arraigned before Magistrate Tom Lyons in the 77th District Court in Mecosta County on one charge each of Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less than Murder, a 10-year felony, and Felony Firearm, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. The charges follow a Michigan State Police (MSP) investigation into an off-duty shooting at a Mecosta County campground by Cox, a conservation officer with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
On May 13th of this year, Cox intervened in a verbal and physical altercation involving his father and other campers at the Merrill-Gorrel County Park in Barryton. Cox is alleged to have announced himself as DNR law enforcement before shooting multiple times, hitting one victim. Though Cox was off-duty at the time of the shooting, the DNR requested MSP investigate the incident. The State’s charges are based upon a review of that investigation.
“Whether on or off-duty, law enforcement officers are not exempt from the law and must conduct themselves accordingly in order to gain and maintain the public’s trust,” Nessel said. “I am thankful for the great work of my Department’s Public Integrity Unit and the Michigan State Police for their work pursuing this very serious case and we look forward to a swift and just resolution of this matter.”
Cox’s bond was set for $25,000 (10%) and he must wear a GPS Tether. Cox will next appear before the 77th District Court in Mecosta County for a probable cause conference on December 20, 2023, and preliminary exam on December 27, 2023.
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Department does not provide booking photos.