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DNR Officer to Stand Trial in Off-Duty Campsite Shooting

LANSING – Yesterday, Ryan Cox, 22, of Mancelona, was bound over to stand trial 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. Cox was charged in December 2023 following 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). 

“We entrust law enforcement officers to maintain public trust and uphold the law,” Nessel said. “My office takes allegations against those who breach this trust seriously, on or off duty, and is committed to ensuring anyone who breaks the law is held accountable.”   

On May 13th, 2023, 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.


Please note: For all criminal proceedings, a criminal charge is merely an allegation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Department does not provide booking photos.

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