Police arrested an Eagle man who battered an 83-year-old man and 71-year-old woman during a dispute about an unleashed dog on the Eagle Greenbelt behind Reid Merrill Park late Tuesday morning.
Dwight E. Cook is charged with a felony aggravated battery in connection with the case and is being held in the Ada County Jail.
Eagle police were sent to the Greenbelt just after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday after getting a 911 call from the woman, who told investigators she and her husband were walking down the path when they saw a man walking a dog without a leash. The dog then came running towards them.
The woman told investigators they asked the man to put his dog on a leash when he refused. A brief verbal argument ensued. That’s when the couple said the man, later identified as Cook, punched the man in the shoulder and then shoved him down an embankment, where he landed on a barb-wire fence.
The woman said Cook then punched her in the stomach and threw her down the embankment, where she landed on her husband. She said Cook then tried to take their cell phones which fell out of their pockets and were on the ground. She said Cook dropped them after she yelled at him. She was then able to take a picture of him as he walked away.
That’s when she called 911. The couple met with police and Ada County Paramedics moments later at nearby Reid Merrill Park.
Both the man and woman had dirt and debris from the ground on them and visible injuries. The couple told police they did not know who the man was but were able to get a picture of him walking away.
Initially, it appeared their injuries were not life-threatening. The couple went to a local hospital to get checked out when doctors determined the man was significantly and seriously injured in the altercation. He was then admitted into the hospital for surgery.
Eagle Police located Cook later that day. He initially told police the couple attacked him. He did not have any visible injuries or debris from the ground on him. The details on his story were not clear, however, so investigators arranged to interview him a second time Wednesday morning while they continued to work on the case and develop a safety plan for the couple.
Cook told police during the second interview that he was walking his dog Tuesday morning when the couple began yelling at him. Cook said the couple threw rocks at him and then one of them tackled him. Cook said that caused him to fall down the embankment. When he got up, Cook told investigators he saw the other man fall over for unknown reasons. That’s when he said he walked away. When interviewed a third time, Cook said he saw the couple fall over down the embankment, went over the help, and then got attacked.
Investigators continued to investigate the case and gather more evidence – including more information about the injuries the 83-year-old man suffered in the incident. By Thursday morning, investigators developed the evidence to charge Cook with felony aggravated battery and arrest him.
The crime of felony aggravated battery is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.