Lexington man sentenced to 12 years in prison for shooting a sheriff’s deputy
LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - A Lexington man pled guilty Thursday to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature for shooting a Lexington County Sheriff’s Department deputy.
Mark Louis Cote, 71, was sentenced to 12 years in prison, according to the 11th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
Cote also pled guilty to domestic violence, third-degree and malicious injury to personal property. In South Carolina, ABHAN is a violent, “no parole” offense.
On Sept. 5, 2020, Lexington officials responded to a domestic violence complaint involving Cote and his wife on Eagleview Drive. According to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, Cote’s wife reported he assaulted her and pointed a firearm at her during the incident.
Investigators were told by Cote’s wife they were in a verbal altercation, which became physical when Cote found out his wife was giving him prescription medicine without his knowledge.
According to deputies, Cote’s wife reported to law enforcement that Cote had been drinking and smoking marijuana when she called for help in 2020. Cote’s wife told investigators she was able to escape the residence, but her husband texted her he would burn things in the home.
Deputies then showed up to the residence, and after announcing their presence were able to make verbal contact with Cote. He was inside the attached garage with the garage door closed and refused to open the garage door.
Cote then told deputies he was armed with a firearm and exited the front door of his residence brandishing a shotgun that was later confirmed to be a 20-gauge Benelli shotgun loaded with birdshot.
Cote was asked to drop his weapon by deputies while they were on the scene, and he then turned the shotgun in a deputy’s direction. That deputy was able to fire his pistol, but during the exchange of gunfire, the deputy was struck in the head.
According to the sheriff’s department, the deputy who was struck was able to get to safety and survived his injuries.
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division was contacted to respond to the 2020 scene and conduct the investigation. SLED SWAT Team members and negotiators attempted to get Cote to come out of his residence.
At that time, during attempts to extract Cote from the residence using gas, Cote fired multiple shots through the garage door striking another SLED agent, who was not injured. SLED sent in a robot with a camera and Cote damaged it when he intentionally shot at it. Cote eventually surrendered after a standoff lasting over ten hours.
11th Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard says domestic violence calls are one of the more dangerous officers receive.
“They have a tough, and often, scary job, but they respond every time with courage. My office will continue to support and stand with our law enforcement officers. This deputy, fortunately, survived this shooting, but we all know it could have been far worse. We are thankful that justice was served today,” Hubbard said.
Cote appeared in Court Friday in a wheelchair with one leg amputated and in deteriorating health. Through his attorney, Cote apologized for his actions.
Cote was transported immediately to the South Carolina Department of Corrections to begin service of his prison sentence. Cote’s prior record included a larceny conviction from 1974.
This case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant Solicitor Sutania A. Fuller on behalf of the Eleventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office who expressed to the Court that “our law enforcement officers need to be supported and this type of conduct cannot be tolerated in Lexington County.”
Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon says Cote’s sentence represents justice and hoped it could bring some peace to the deputy and his family. Koon also says he is grateful to all who responded and to SLED for handling the negotiations to end the stand-off.
“The deputy acted bravely during his encounter with Cote. Years of training ensured he responded according to policy and as any reasonable officer would when facing such a dangerous situation,” Koon said.
The deputy who was injured addressed the Court remarking that Sept. 5, 2020, is a day he “will never forget,” and said the shooting has taken a mental toll on him.
Copyright 2022 WIS. All rights reserved.
Notice a spelling or grammar error in this article? Click or tap here to report it. Please include the article’s headline.