Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sheriff Gene Cox

For some reason I've been thinking about the killing of Sheriff Gene Cox off and on lately. Still, for some reason it surprised me to read that it happened 25 years ago. Do you remember where you were when you heard about it? I'm not sure where I was but know I was working at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant at the time.

For those of you newbies to Humboldt County, the Ebb Tide Trailer Park, where the shootings occurred, is where the new Harley Davidson store is now: North side of Eureka alongside the Eureka Slough over at the Humboldt Bank(?) Mall. There used to be a trailer park there.

Looks like Coroner, Frank Jager, found the rifle used in the shooting and is donating it to the Clark Museum. I'll have to remember to go see it once it's on display. Kind of creepy, though.


At 11:46 AM, Blogger Shane Brinton said...

Of course, I don't remember it, since it happened about 4 years before I came into existence. But it's certainly an interesting story, and yet another reminder of how dangerous the world is, especially for law enforcement.

I recently read a report about police fatalities going up nationwide this year. Pretty scary. I have a lot of respect for the people who do these jobs, even if I don't always agree with the way some of them do their jobs.

Anyway, thanks for posting this Fred. I must have missed it in the paper. It's always nice to learn more about Humboldt History.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Carol said...

I had just moved to Humboldt County and was living in Carlotta while working at Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna as a LVN. I thought I had really moved to the Wild West.

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember it well. The shockwaves felt throughout the county were immense.

He only had a month to go before retirement. A well liked man by the community.

I remembered Sheriff Cox attending basketball games at Hoopa High. For no other reason than being involved in the community. With the Sheriff's substation up there, I believe he felt inclined to visit the areas that the department served.

Speaking of mental patients killing police officers. Let's not forget about the killing of Trinity County deputy Bill Jackson as he was trying to talk to a man who was attemting to live inside the Salyer forest service barracks.
The man grabbed his revolver and shot him, killing him. Bill Jackson was 64 years old.

At 5:00 PM, Blogger hucktunes said...

I was at work at HSU. I saw it on the TV news at break time. He was a great guy, the Sheriff Without A Gun. He was encouraged to run for Sheriff by a group of citizens concerned about the number of Sheriff related killings in the 60s. There was a book, now out of print and impossible to find, called Killer Cops Of Humboldt County. The copy at the library is no longer there. Sheriff Cox was on his way home after work when he got the call and told the dispatcher that he knew the guy and would talk to him.
A friend of mine was cooling his heels in the slammer when Cox was Sheriff and said that every evening before he went home he would walk through the jail and make sure that everybody had smokes and a light. Thanks for the post, Fred.

At 1:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was playing Bloggo Blaster on my Commodore 64 when my mom ran into the room and creamed hysterically, "Sheriff Cox is dead!"

"Sheriff who?"


"Of what?"


At 1:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew him well. He was not a hero just a real good man doing a tough job very well. He would be very happy with the new guy Phelps. He would be very sad about the lazy,selfish,indulgent attitude controling our community today.

At 11:05 AM, Blogger hucktunes said...

Yeah, I like Phelps too. I met him in Mckinleyvile at Pony Express Days shortly after he got elected. He seemed very polite and honest. He was in charge of the jail for many years and did a real good job of it. I'm not certain, but I think that motor cop Brian Cox is Gene Cox's nephew. I first met him when my daughter had a run in with the law and he came to my house. He was very respectful and kind. It seems that I've read that he's now a detective and no longer rides the bike. He sure kept his motor clean.

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

That's Sheriff Gary PHILP, not Phelps.

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Joel Mielke said...

It's touching to read about a Sheriff who was so loved and respected by the community.

Folks still miss him, so it might be a good idea to keep the grim memento in mothballs for another twenty years or so.

At 2:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was working at Harper Motor's and Harvey told everyone when he came into work. He was very upset about the events. Sheriff Cox was the only Sheriff I ever knew so as a young 20 something it did make an impression on how life can changed in an instant.

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gene Cox was well known in the alcoholic community. He was always willing to take time to council a suffering drunk. A remarkable guy. He was not as well loved in some rural parts of Southern Humboldt where he promoted an early version of the CAMP program. The problem was that the Sheriff eradication teams contained quite a few volunteers looking for an exciting outing. These guys had long since forgotten anything they had ever learned about the Constitution. Warrentless searches were the order of the day. Finally, a group of folks from Whitethorn went to see him to complain. He heard them out and said: "If you weren't breaking the law, you wouldn't have any problem with your Constitutional rights."

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the nephew of Gene Cox and the Grandson of Jack Alton. My name is Bruce Alton, I am currently in Law Enforcement and I am looking for relatives from Gene's family. If you are his son, daughter, or simply a relative please email me so I can talk to you.


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