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DNR officer who fired gun during fight at campground gets felony charges

Shooting Investigation

UPDATE 12/12/23 4:30 p.m.

A DNR officer involved in an off-duty shooting back in May has received felony charges.

Ryan Cox of Mancelona was charged with one count of Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less than Murder, a 10-year felony, and Felony Firearm.


On May 13, Cox intervened in a fight involving his father and other campers at the Merrill-Gorrel County Park in Barryton. Cox allegedly announced himself as DNR law enforcement before shooting multiple times, hitting one victim.

Even though Cox was off-duty at the time, the DNR requested MSP investigate the incident. The State’s charges are based on that investigation.

Cox’s bond was set for $25,000 (10%) and he must wear a GPS Tether.

5/18/23 12:40 p.m.


The DNR says one of their officers is on paid administrative leave while Michigan State Police investigate a shooting involving the officer.

It happened Saturday, May 13 at a campground – Merrill-Gorrel County Park in Barryton, Mecosta County.

The DNR says the officer was off duty, camping with family at the time of the shooting. Here is their official statement:

“There was a physical altercation between two people. The conservation officer who was there intervened and ultimately fired his weapon and struck one of the individuals involved. That person was seriously injured and remains hospitalized. Another person suffered injuries during the altercation but was not hospitalized. The conservation officer involved was uninjured.”


It’s currently unclear whether there were other weapons involved in the altercation, or what ultimately led the DNR officer to draw his weapon. Here is the original statement provided to us following the shooting:

“An individual involved in a shooting in Mecosta County Saturday, May 13, is an employee of the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division. The individual was camping with family at the time of the incident. The DNR requested that the Michigan State Police conduct an independent investigation of the incident. All matters regarding the investigation should be referred to that agency. The DNR employee is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.”

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