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Police: Retired Cop Told to 'Go Away' Before Attacking Bar Patron

Darren Gagnon assaulted a stranger at a Bridgehampton bar and restaurant Thursday, according to police.

After twice approaching a group of bar patrons at Bobby Van's and twice being turned away on Thursday night, 51-year-old Darren Gagnon, of Shirley, went up to the group a third time and punched one of the patrons in the face and head, according to Southampton Town police.

Det. Sgt. Lisa Costa said Monday that Gagnon wanted to have words with someone he knew, but the group repeatedly told him to go away. After going to the other end of the bar for a while, Gagnon returned a third time, and, Costa said, that's when he assaulted a member of the group who he did not know before that night.

The arrest report states that police responded to the Bridgehampton bar and restaurant at 5:58 p.m. for a crime-in-progress. At 6:25 p.m., Gagnon, a retired sergeant with the Southampton Village Police Department, was charged with assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor, and taken to Southampton Town police headquarters for processing.

Costa said that the nature of the incident and the injuries was consistent with a misdemeanor assault charge. Gagnon was released that night, but is due in Southampton Town Justice Court on Feb. 27 to answer the charge.

Police said the victim, a Bridgehampton man, was taken to Southampton Hospital for treatment of his injuries. Police did not confirm the victim's name or the extent of his injuries. When Patch reached a hospital room on Friday believed to have been the victim's, a woman who answered the phone said he has no comment.

Reached Friday, Gagnon said that, on the advice of his attorney, he has no comment. Gagnon's attorney did not return multiple messages.

The incident occurred exactly one year and one day after Gagnon's retirement, which followed 25 years with the Southampton Village Police Department.

Gagnon was meeting at Bobby Van's with other police officers, current and former, to take William Wilson out to dinner for his own retirement from law enforcement, which took effect Dec. 1, 2012. Wilson had been a chief of both the Southampton Village and Southampton Town police departments.

Wilson said Friday morning that the incident occurred just 15 to 20 seconds after he walked into the restaurant. "I have no idea what precipitated it," he said, adding that he never had a chance to speak to Gagnon. He said other patrons at the bar broke the men apart.

Wilson never got his dinner.

Nana Gagnon February 05, 2013 at 06:45 PM
How dare you talk about my son in such vicious and horrible terms. My sweet boy happens to have the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That girl who didn't accept my son's advances deserved that full cavity search on camera, who wouldn't deserve to be humiliated and disgraced by someone wearing the uniform of protection!? As for Bobby Van's if those nasty patrons had just let my wonderful son have a word with their lady friends (I am sure my son was way more interesting than their dates that night) this nonsense would have never happened. Darren is a good boy, a victim even, who has just been plagued by some dumb luck. Give the my boy a break and stop being so mean to him. He is ariyan you know.
Nana Gagnon February 05, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Victim!? My son Darren is the victim here. Poor young man had to deal with a woman who was not interested in speaking with him!? Not to mention the fact that he didn't get a call back fast enough about a round of golf. Let's see that happen to you and have you not go attempt to murder the person who didn't call you. Like you're perfect.....
Watson February 05, 2013 at 06:53 PM
@ Brendan, you are a joke at this point & WRONG. No mud in any water here. Only, you trying to promote silly little "cut & paste" artciles you wrote in 2011. Clearly you are bias in your posts and should not write artciles and then try to defend or advocate for Mr. Gagnon who has a long history of issues with his time on the force. And, clearly you do not want readers to find out his negative history in the community. Which, is wrong, that is why people read newspapers ! Also, legal fees are not based on who wins or who loses. Don't bother replying AGAIN, nobody wants to hear from you.....
Watson February 05, 2013 at 06:55 PM
@ Just doing my job - Thank you for post.
Snickers1013 February 05, 2013 at 07:55 PM
It's true, I met Gagnon years ago (I was stopped by him in the village while I was driving to work in East Hampton). There was no offense but he was very flirtatious and invited me for a hot tub session at a house he was watching for pay (Dune Road mansion) off Gin Lane. Being engaged to a Suffolk County Police officer (now married for 16 years) he backed off a bit at the time, but, in spite of him being married himself, he continued the full-court press of flirtation when I saw him at events on the East End for years. I would not at all be surprised that shenanigans and female intimidation tactics to obtain sex in a police authoritation way were being used by him and possibly other cops in the village. The only reason I dodged the bullet is because of my personal relationship with a SCPD detective, maybe on some level Gagnon respected that or feared retaliation although at the time he seemed not too concerned with messing with a brother's woman.
BballNerd February 06, 2013 at 12:46 AM
While you may disagree and he may be off on this one, Brendan is not a joke per se'. He puts a lot of effort into a site that provides significantly more real information than other sites that cover this territory. I don't think he has an agenda here. There is no doubt that as readers and commentators we have buried this serial abuser. Its only a matter of time until we find out that this guy served up a roofenol cocktail to some unsuspecting female driver who is now living with the pain of a faint yet unclear memory about some very unpleasant activities that took place at the hands of a freak with a badge on some dark dead end. Where there is smoke, there is fire. Sorry to Nana Gagnon.
Jerry Can February 06, 2013 at 01:06 AM
If this is the type of character Wilson considers his friends I'm glad the Town board forced him out.
highhatsize February 06, 2013 at 03:23 AM
The facts are that this ex-cop premeditatedly sucker-punched a defenseless man, cold-cocking him, and then hit him several more times while he was unconscious on the ground, sending him to the I.C.U. where he still remains. Nevertheless, the investigating officer from the STPD determined that these facts showed no intent to commit "serious" injury and booked him for a misdemeanor rather than a felony. This behavior highlights the sense of entitlement that poisons the STPD. They think that they are privileged to do anything that pleases them (in this case, letting a fellow officer slide after a despicable crime) and that there will be no blowback. And they are RIGHT! If this case is handled by the Town, Gagnon will be allowed to walk away from his violent attack with the same penalty that you or I would receive for a traffic ticket. The New York State Attorney General MUST take jurisdiction. It's the only way to cut out the rot.
Preliator February 06, 2013 at 11:40 AM
I could not agree more. Something stinks in SH.
Jaguar-Guy February 06, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Well, Hell has frozen over. We three agree. What a cowardly piece of garbage. Let's hope the right attorney is hired to sue this despicable person for all he's got, and that they've already sent out their investigator to obtain "iron clad" statements now. Sue his pants off. Is the story really that he punched someone for not getting a free round of golf ?? The loss of money is a good form of punishment. BTW - the D.A. can (and should) "up" the charges at any time if more information comes to light.
John Truth February 06, 2013 at 05:12 PM
wow! Ex-town and Village Chief, ex- Village Lieutenant hanging out at bars with and ex-cop whom they worked with for at least 20 years. They don't know his habits? They must be really hard up for friends. Now they are risking possible charges against them or at least civil action. I mean the whole "I didn't even have my coat off yet" defense makes no sense. You can't protect an innocent person from serious physical injury because you are wearing a coat???
John Gruber February 06, 2013 at 05:42 PM
The sad thing is anyone who tries to do something will be putting themselves at risk for retaliation/harassment from the PD
CUffster February 06, 2013 at 06:21 PM
If you had told me 3 months ago that Chief Bill Wilson would have been forced out of his position as police chief then would be coupling with the likes of Darren Gagnon while Darren tried to murder a bar patron I would have thought you were nuts. It also appears that the only people that tried to chase Darren Gagnon down the street were employees of the restaurant. Perry Farrell was right, nothing is shocking anymore.
Preliator February 06, 2013 at 06:37 PM
And these are the same people we are counting on for protection and help; if they are like this now they were like this when they had a uniform on.
John Truth February 06, 2013 at 07:37 PM
The problem is that not one of the 3 ex-cops in the bar can do anything else with their lives. I would be surprised if any of them have an hour above a general high school degree. They stick to what they know. Getting drunk, Beating on innocent people and lying about what they did and saw at the incident.
Sparky February 07, 2013 at 12:10 PM
"reached friday, on the advice of his attorney...." Is there a reason this homeboy isn't incarcerated at the moment for attempted murder? No bail for angel boy who plays with a glue stick but this guy literally attempted to snuff the life out of someone in public - which would show a complete state of violence with intent to kill at all costs - but he's free to answer the phone at his house? Appreciate the info at the end about Wilson not actually getting his dinner. That is paramount to this story while a guy is in ICU with brain swelling and an experience that will scar him for the rest of his life. It will really piss me off when this guy walks scott free, continues to get his pension and laughs all the way to the next night club jacked on cocaine ready to grab some touchas and ''get some''..
Preliator February 07, 2013 at 01:30 PM
You have to wonder why Cuomo, LaValle and Thiele want to exempt retired and off duty cops from the SAFE act if they are going to run around assaulting people?
Samantha Winter February 07, 2013 at 04:13 PM
Suffolk County police are not immune to this type of thing either, it's not an isolated Southampton Town or Village thing when some cops feel they can live above the law. Anyone remember the case years ago when a Suffolk undercover narcotics detective was blown up in his car right in front of his wife and kids in his driveway while he was on his way to work? The police tried to spin it that the murder was committed by Columbian drug dealers who were seeking street justice.Truth is, and I know this firsthand from his then-partner, the perp was a demolitions SCPD expert who knew how to both detonate the charge, kill the guy and get away with it. Why was he mad? The narc was having an ongoing affair with his wife and he was angry and sought revenge. Everyone knows what really happened but it was impossible to prove because the dem guy knew how to cover his tracks and not get caught. He kept his job although SCPD took his guns away for a time and he was assigned to desk duty-what they term the "rubber gun squad" -for possibly the rest of his "career." Astonishingly, this guy's wife stayed with him, most likely out of fear, duh!? Of course there are a lot of good cops out there but, just like in any profession, it has its fair share of bad apples. There is a lot of arrogance built into that job and believe me, many take advantage of the immunity to crime that comes with it. Absolute power corrupts
Hope and Change February 07, 2013 at 04:23 PM
its a southampton bar thing. officers bullying patrons. some win some lose.
Jerry Can February 07, 2013 at 09:32 PM
I agree. Its a shame that there have been no reports on the condition of the victim in this case. Maybe its medical privacy issue or family does not want to discuss. I any event I hope he pulls through.
Brendan J. O'Reilly (Editor) February 07, 2013 at 09:38 PM
The victim was released from the hospital Feb. 2. (Two days after the incident.) I will post a new article on Southampton Patch when I learn more.
Jerry Can February 08, 2013 at 02:57 AM
Thank you for the update. Its a relief to know he is out of the hospital. Hopefully he is recovering well.
CVL March 23, 2013 at 01:57 PM
To all of you who think you know someone, well you don't, Mr. Gagnon is a good man, a good father and has a kind heart. No one is perfect, what.. u all haven't made mistakes! I think so! Sometimes we do something or say something with regret after it's to late. But the Darren I know is kind, caring and gentle.
CVL March 23, 2013 at 02:34 PM
The only obnoxious thing going on here is all of u saying things that aren't true... mayb the victim is the low life.. even though he was the victim... sorry for what happened to him but ugly words don't do much justice.... stick and stones... and u know how the rest goes...
highhatsize March 23, 2013 at 07:45 PM
to CVL: There is no disagreement among the numerous witnesses about the core facts: Gagnon cold-cocked the unsuspecting victim and hit him several more times while he was unconscious. The only one postulating events unsupported by fact is YOU.
highhatsize March 23, 2013 at 07:47 PM
to CVL: ... AND a mean, violent drunk.
CVL March 23, 2013 at 08:28 PM
to Highhatsize.................. sometimes their are other facts you don't see "read between the lines" u weren't their nor I... and like I said .. Its unfortunate this happend, but we all make mistakes or not realize what were doin or saying.. just living in the moment... Doesn't mean someone is a "bad" person all around... Everyone deserves a second chance!!!!!!
Hope and Change March 25, 2013 at 01:59 PM
This justn in. the cop who attacked the patron was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time. this makes him a hero not a criminal. poor guy didn't know what he was doing. so, lets send him to Malibu rehab resort for a month on our dime. he's not bad just misunderstood. stop hating him. show love send him on vacation.
Rose Way March 25, 2013 at 02:58 PM
I've heard more than one story about SH Town cops who have beat town citizens for no known reason. A friend is suing the Town now after a realative of a young man he was renting to barged into his home and beat the B-Jesus out of him, apparently because he asked the trouble-making young relative to move out for non payment of rent. That's vigilate justice FROM a TOWN COP. Wonder where the missing drugs went...I think our cops are taking them.
Postman Sharp March 25, 2013 at 03:03 PM
The new Chief of the Town PD said this week in the SH Press that he called the Suffolk County DA's office to ask if his Department was being investigated by them. Now, ask yourself this: If you were conducting an investigation of a group suspected of stealing drugs and money from the Town PD evidence room, would you tell their chief? How did this guy get advanced to Chief if he can't figure that out before he called? On the other hand, why I am surprised? If the DEA doesn't trust the Town PD, why should we be surprised at anything? Thanks you Mr. Malone, Mr. Nuzi and Ms. Scalara for making a messy situation messier with your appointments and reappointments. WHAT A DISASTER!

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