Off-duty officer in casino parking lot altercation |

Off-duty officer in casino parking lot altercation

Christina Proctor

An off-duty South Lake Tahoe police officer made a citizen’s arrest Wednesday evening claiming a Washington couple battered him during an altercation at a Stateline casino parking lot.

Gary Robert Cox, 45, and Susan Margaret Cox, 36, of Yakima, were taken into custody by Douglas County sheriff’s deputies after Lakeside Inn and Casino security called them to the scene around 5:20 p.m. Officer Mike Dente told the deputies that he was backing his car out of a parking space when he heard a thump. Dente noticed the couple standing behind his car and got out and asked Gary Cox why he kicked the car.

Cox reportedly said “What about it?” and attempted to grab Dente and push him backward. Dente said he sidestepped Cox and simultaneously punched him in the body and head. Cox’s wife, Susan, 36, then started hitting Dente in the back and shoulder. Dente then pushed Cox down and turned and grabbed Susan’s wrists to restrain her as security arrived.

Cox claimed that Dente hit him for no reason, although he later admitted to kicking the car. Deputies found a single footprint in the middle of the car’s dusty bumper. When asked if he intentionally kicked the car to cause damage Cox said, “No. I did it to get the driver’s attention.”

Cox denied approaching Dente in an aggressive manner, but said he was “pissed off.”

Susan told the deputies that her husband did kick the car, but said he merely approached Dente. She admitted to striking Dente, saying it was to get him away from her husband.

The deputies said Cox’s action of kicking the car without a verbal warning to Dente, coupled with his statement that he was upset when approaching Dente led them to believe he instigated the altercation, and Dente’s actions were just a defensive measure.

Dente made a citizen’s arrest for battery against the couple.

During the booking process at the jail, deputies allegedly found a small wooden box on Gary Cox containing a brass smoking pipe and two grams of a substance that appeared to be marijuana.

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