Man had gun at Center of Hope during check-in; no confrontationOct 14, 2015 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer
Arriving clients must change their clothes and empty their pockets, and center staff discovered the gun during that process.
Staff found a gun Tuesday night on a man checking into the Center of Hope detoxification and rehabilitation center.
The issue raises concerns in the context of the recent shootings there, but a spokesman said security protocols kept clients safe.
A private party brought the man who had the firearm to the Center of Hope, said Heath Steel. Steel is chief operating officer for Volunteers of America, the non-profit organization that runs the detox center.
Steel did not know what time the man arrived on the night between Oct. 13 and Oct. 14.
Clients who check in must change their clothes and empty their pockets, Steel said. During that process staff of the facility discovered the man was carrying a gun.
At the time, the man was in a "check-in" room with only staff members, and no other clients were in that space Steel said.
"These incidents have revealed that our processes work, i.e., we found the contraband," he said.
Guns and the Center of Hope have a tragic connection in local memory.
In the afternoon of July 18, a Riverton man not associated with the facility entered the detox center through a rear door and shot two clients at they lied in bed, killing Stallone Trosper, 29, and critically wounding James "Sonny" Goggles, 50.
Steel believes the situation last night far different from the shooting in July.
"He did not arrive to do harm," Steel said of the man found with a gun. "He was in possession of it and was checking in."
Staff at the facility called the Riverton Police Department, and officers arrested the man.
"Immediately upon entrance law enforcement was contacted. RPD arrived. They did an excellent job," Steel said. "They have been a true partner for us, and the gentleman was removed from the program."
RPD did not return requests for comment.
The Center of Hope does not allow clients to bring in weapons, drugs, alcohol, cell phones or cameras, Steel said. All are considered contraband.
"We serve some individuals who have all their possessions with them when they check in so, it's not unusual to discover contraband type-items during that process," Steel said.
Security at the health care facility has increased since the July Shooting. Volunteers of America added additional security cameras and lighting and enhanced the Center of Hopes protocols, Steel said.