RIVERTON — New developments in the standoff that occurred Wednesday afternoon in Riverton have emerged, revealing that James Hinman, 56, was shot during a rapid volley of gunfire earlier in the day – not while being extricated from his home by law enforcement at the end of the incident.
Hinman died between Thursday night and Friday morning.
His death marks the third officer-involved shooting fatality in Riverton in 15 months. Two involved the Riverton police department, while the other shooting was by federal drug enforcement agents.
Hinman had been a suspect in a hit-and-run on Aspen Drive on Wednesday at around 1 p.m. Police reports from the hour noted Hinman hit a blue Chevy Silverado with his own SUV, “had words” with the woman reporting the collision, and proceeded to barricade himself in his home.
At about 2:15 p.m., Hinman fired a single shot. Roughly three minutes later another eight shots in rapid succession could be heard from the intersection of Aspen Drive and Forest Drive – eight houses away from Hinman’s home at 1412 Aspen Drive.
Between three and five minutes after the initial nine shots were heard, eight more shots in rapid succession could be heard from that distance – for a total of 17 discernible.
Both Hinman and police fired shots.
A press release by Riverton Police Department Captain Todd Byerly issued Wednesday evening noted “the suspect initiated gunfire toward officers, who returned fire.”
After reviewing emerging witness and agency reports compiled by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, which has taken over the case, Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun wrote a statement on Friday conveying the following:
“At this point, it is clear that James Hinman engaged law enforcement by firing upon them with an AR-15 rifle. It is also very probable that only one officer returned fire. It appears the officer, in perceiving immediate danger to himself or his companion law enforcement agents who were pinned down by Hinman’s fire, returned fire, and inflicted a fatal wound.”
LeBrun’s statement also counters earlier reports that Hinman was shot upon extraction, hours later.
No officers or civilians were injured. Police evacuated residents from the neighborhood throughout the afternoon.
After Hinman was shot at about 2:20 p.m., police waited for approximately three hours while surrounding the house, including from the rooftop of the house behind it.
During that time a surveillance drone was deployed. Video from the drone observed Hinman in the house, injured, at about 4 p.m.
Local authorities called the Natrona County SWAT team, in part to gain the use of their Bearcat armored vehicle.
Between 5 and 6 p.m., the vehicle plowed through the front yard and into the front of the house. Authorities extricated Hinman at that time but did not shoot.
Some witnesses mistook an explosion from a “flashbang” device as a gunshot, but that account has since been refuted by closer eyewitness accounts.
Hinman was transported for medical care.
Fremont County Sheriff Ryan Lee and several deputies also were present, along with agents from Wyoming Highway Patrol.
The Riverton Volunteer Fire Department and AMR emergency medical services were on standby, serving further as a blockade at the end of Aspen Drive.
According to Lee, no FSO agents discharged firearms during the incident.
An RPD officer has been placed on administrative leave in response to the officer-involved shooting.
LeBrun, who has reviewed two previous officer-involved shootings during his tenure, will review and conclude the investigation.