Owners of Cody restaurant alleged to have chased down, threatened customers

Posted 6/21/24

An argument over the service at a Cody restaurant reportedly spun out of control on Wednesday night, resulting in the arrest of the business’ owners.

Cassie’s Steakhouse owners …

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Owners of Cody restaurant alleged to have chased down, threatened customers


An argument over the service at a Cody restaurant reportedly spun out of control on Wednesday night, resulting in the arrest of the business’ owners.

Cassie’s Steakhouse owners Randel and Courtney Hooper are each facing misdemeanor counts of stalking and breach of peace for allegedly tracking down and threatening to kill some patrons, who’d allegedly made threats of their own against Courtney Hooper. 

Randel Hooper is also facing a felony charge of intentionally and knowingly causing bodily injury to a peace officer; it alleges he resisted arrest and kicked a Cody police officer in the head while being taken into custody.

After spending parts of three days in jail, both Hoopers made bail on Friday and were released to await further court proceedings.

Dueling threats

Wednesday night’s incident reportedly began when a group of customers became upset about the wait time at Cassie’s.

Courtney Hooper called Cody police around 8:45 p.m. and reported that some patrons “stated they would kill her because they waited for over an hour and a half to be seated,” Cody Police Officer Daniel Villalobos wrote in a charging affidavit. Villalobos said Courtney Hooper recalled a couple telling her that “they would kill her if she got in their face.”

The couple,  who appear to be from Florida, left the steakhouse and headed west on Yellowstone Avenue, but the Hoopers “chased down” the man and his wife to confront them, the affidavit says.

After police arrived at the scene, Randel Hooper allegedly yelled to Villalobos that, “You better f—ing arrest them or I’ll be back and I’ll f—ing kill em.” However, Courtney Hooper reportedly told police that she didn’t want to pursue charges and just wanted the couple to stay away from Cassie’s.

Officers told the Floridians that they were no longer welcome at the restaurant, Villalobos wrote, and everyone went their separate ways. However, the Hoopers are alleged to have showed up at the couple’s motel less than an hour later, leading to another altercation. 

The Hoopers allegedly went to the Big Bear Motel and sought out one of the couple’s traveling companions, a man who’d initially booked the group’s reservation at Cassie’s. That companion reportedly told the Hoopers to leave the motel and he began recording the interaction.

Police were called  summoned around 9:40 p.m. and reviewed a video, in which Courtney Hooper can be heard telling the man that “if he didn’t stop video recording her and step away from her vehicle, she would shoot him,” Villalobos wrote. She repeated that threat to the former customers “multiple times,” the officer wrote, while Randel Hooper was alleged to have said, “You better f—ing leave Cody, or else.”

Making arrests

After hearing the group’s accounts and watching the video recording, Villabolos said he, two other Cody police officers and two sheriff’s deputies went to Cassie’s to arrest the Hoopers. In a later report, Villalobos said there appeared to have been “a major over reaction on the Hoopers[’] part.”

Courtney Hooper was taken into custody without incident, the charging documents indicate, but Randel Hooper is alleged to have “actively resisted arrest” and begun “grappling” with Officer Tom Wilshusen in the Cassie’s parking lot.

Villabolos said he got “control” of Hooper’s legs and caused both the suspect and Wilshusen to fall to the ground. Randel Hooper was taken into custody shortly after that, but during the struggle, Villalobos said the suspect kicked him in the head. In an affidavit, Villalobos said the incident left both the top of his head and his left elbow with bleeding and swelling.

Arguing bond

In court on Friday, Deputy Park County Prosecuting Attorney Jack Hatfield asked for Randel Hooper’s bond to be set at $10,000 cash.

“The state is concerned for public safety in light of the multiple instances [of alleged threats] and the serious nature of the felony,” Hatfield said.

He also asked for Courtney Hooper’s bond to be set at $5,000 cash, saying he was “very concerned about [her] making threats to kill people on two separate occasions within about an hour.”

The Hoopers’ defense attorneys, however, asked for the couple to be released on signature bonds. They noted that, according to the prosecution, Courtney Hooper has no prior criminal history, while Randel Hooper hasn’t been in trouble with the law since a 2004 incident in Utah. (It involved allegations of resisting an officer and disorderly conduct and two of the three charges appear to have been dismissed, Hatfield said.)

The Hoopers’ attorneys also noted the couple own and operate multiple businesses in Cody that are amid their busiest months: In addition to running Cassie’s on the city’s West Strip, they recently opened the Cutthroat Restaurant and Saloon downtown.

Randel Hooper “is a contributing member to society, is responsible for ... approximately 30 to 50 employees,” is a veteran and has some health conditions that require care and medication, his attorney, Sarah Miles, said in arguing for a lower bond.

As for Courtney Hooper’s attorney, Brigita Krisjansons, she said the couple’s businesses “are very important … to the Cody community” and offered that, “obviously, my client is innocent as she sits here.”

Park County Circuit Court Judge Joey Darrah set Randel Hooper’s bond at $5,000 cash or surety, and Courtney Hooper’s at $2,500 cash or surety, and both made bail later in the day. Although he oversaw Friday's initial hearing, Darrah said he would be recuse himself and assigned the case to a magistrate going forward.

Out on bond

While free on bond, the Hoopers need to obey the law, have no contact with the customers or other  witnesses and stay away from the Big Bear Motel, among other conditions.

Hatfield said he does not believe that drugs or alcohol were related to the case “at all,” mentioning that Randel Hooper’s breath test at the jail indicated he had no alcohol in his system.

Randel Hooper is tentatively set for a June 28 preliminary on his one felony and two misdemeanor charges while Courtney Hooper is set for a Nov. 14 trial on her two misdemeanors. 

Villalobos initially sought to cite both Hoopers with an additional count of terroristic threats — a felony offense that applies when a person “threatens to commit any violent felony with the intent to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience ...”

However, the charging affidavits don’t appear to include any information that fits within those charges and, at least for the time being, Hatfield has dropped them.