News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Lander police investigate early morning homicide
Sep 11, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer
The Lander Police Department would not release the names of the victim or the potential suspect who is in custody in connection with a homicide reported to authorities early Tuesday.
Police chief Jim Carey said his agency was dispatched at 3:13 a.m. to 947 N. Second St. for a report of a shooting and a victim lying in a pool of blood at the residence.
Responding officers reportedly forced their way into the home through the locked backdoor and found a deceased male with a single gunshot wound to the head. Carey said emergency personnel confirmed the man was deceased, and it appeared the shooting occurred inside of the house.
Carey and Fremont County Coroner Ed McAuslan declined to release the identity of the adult male victim Tuesday. He said an adult male suspect is in custody, but Carey would not release his identity either.
"We currently have who we believe is the suspect," Carey said at a press conference at the scene.
He declined to say when the person was apprehended.
"We are confident that with this incident we have closure, and we are hoping to release more information very soon," he said.
The victim's body remained inside of the house so the Wyoming State Crime Lab could arrive from Cheyenne and process the scene. The entire 200 block of Jefferson Street was closed to traffic, and yellow tape surrounded the house. The two-bedroom, one bath, single-story house sits on a corner lot a couple of blocks north of the Fremont County Courthouse. A knocked-over garbage container was on one side of the house, and plastic covering some of the windows appeared to be torn.
Carey would not say who lived at the residence or if others were inside at the time of the shooting.
"No information (is) available at this time," he said.
Carey declined to release details about who made the report to police but confirmed it was not an anonymous tip. He also declined to describe the gun allegedly used in the homicide or if alcohol or drugs were involved.
"A significant amount of the force is on duty at this time securing the crime scene, interviewing people of interest," he said. "Any time we deal with a loss of life we take great measures to do our best to secure evidence. We're on a fact-finding mission. We are not speculating, just determining the facts."
Police continued canvassing the neighborhood several blocks around the house Tuesday, asking residents if they heard or saw anything suspicious.
Shortly after 10 a.m., Fremont County Sheriff's detective Sgt. John Zerga arrived at the scene. Carey said agencies countywide have offered assistance in the investigation.
Fliers handed out in the area state a homicide "has occurred in your neighborhood sometime after 0100 hours Tuesday September 11, 2012.
"Your Police Department is urgently looking for any information concerning this crime including any suspicious activity involving vehicles and/or persons that were in the area around the above noted date and time," the flyer stated.
Carey did not say if the homicide involved a burglary, but information on the flyer implies items may have been stolen.
"We want to solve this crime as quickly as possible so we can prevent any future crimes in your neighborhood and recover as much of the stolen property as we can," it stated.
Anyone with information is asked to call LPD at 332-3131. Callers can reference case number L12-04277 when contacting police about the incident.
Carey recalled the last negligent homicide that occurred in Lander was two years ago and involved an overdose. No charges were ever filed, and the potential suspect is now deceased.