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Tribal councilman choked to death

DENVER – A tribal councilman from southern California was choked to death during an altercation in front of a strip bar in August, an autopsy conducted indicated.

The man authorities believe was responsible for killing Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians Councilman Gabriel Pico turned himself in Oct. 16, said Denver Police public information officer Sonny Jackson.

Bryan Coe is under investigation for “reckless manslaughter,” although prosecutors are still determining what exact charge they will seek.

“We won’t know what the exact charge will be until we review the case file and make a final decision,” said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver district attorney’s office.

Coe has been released from the Denver County Jail on a $25,000 bond, she said.

At the time of the incident on Aug. 31, Coe was an employee of the Diamond Cabaret & Steakhouse in downtown Denver, a swanky strip club that offers $1,500 VIP memberships and boasts filet mignon and escargot on its menu. Pico was allegedly engaged in an altercation at the club with Coe after he attended the Democratic National Convention.

Two other men, both patrons of the club, were arrested the night of the incident on suspicion of second-degree assault, Kimbrough said. They have been released on bail. Jackson declined to release details of the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.

Kimbrough said Coe is scheduled to return to court for an arraignment hearing in February.

Pico was a first-term councilmember of just two months. He left behind three daughters, two sons and one grandson.