NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, June 4, 2020

Gillette man shot to death, second arrested

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 21-year-old Gillette man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after allegedly shooting 21-year-old Tanner Miller in the head at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. 

Police Lt. Brent Wasson said the suspect, identified by jail records as Joshua Campbell, called police to report he shot the victim at the suspect's home.

Officers responded and found the victim, who was taken to Campbell County Memorial Hospital, where he later died, Wasson said.

Just before the shooting, the victim arrived at Campbell's home in South Fork Apartments after the two had been hanging out somewhere else in the evening, Wasson said.

Campbell County Coroner Paul Wallem confirmed the identification of the victim and said Miller was shot above the left eye brow.

Wasson said the investigation continues and that "at this time," the Police Department won't release more details of the shooting.


Park Co. law enforcement condemns Floyd death

CODY (WNE) — The protests in the wake of the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd in police custody last week have made some waves locally, with law enforcement speaking out and a gathering in support of black communities scheduled for Sunday.

Park County’s law enforcement agencies released a joint statement Tuesday condemning the actions of the police officers involved. One has since been charged with third-degree murder.

“Law enforcement in Park County is appalled by the indefensible use of force and lack of intervention by other officers on the scene that led to George Floyd’s death,” the statement starts. “These officers must be held legally accountable for their actions and inactions that were inconsistent with any legitimate training and procedures of our profession.”

It is signed by sheriff Scott Steward, Cody police chief Chuck Baker and Powell chief Roy Eckerdt.

“Incidents like this undermine our efforts in Park County to build community trust with those we have sworn to serve and protect, and are not consistent with the values instilled in Park County law enforcement agencies,” the three leaders write.

The Sunday gathering, associated with the national group Black Lives Matter, is noon at City Park.

“Join us for a chance to support the black communities across the United States,” reads an announcement for the event.

Organizers mention opportunities to sign petitions, donate, receive resources and learn how to be a better ally.

“This will be a peaceful gathering with the sole purposes of education and support.”


Man dies after apparently punching window

RIVERTON (WNE) — A bloody death that occurred on East Monroe Avenue just outside of Riverton on Monday appears to have been accidental, but the coroner’s verdict is pending.

“From what we can tell, it looks like the subject possibly punched through a window and sustained a deep laceration in his arm,” resulting in death, said Fremont County undersheriff Mike Hutchison in a Tuesday interview with The Ranger. 

The Riverton Police Department came to the scene to assist FSO following a call to dispatch at about 5:07 p.m. Monday, by a reporting party who said the body of a deceased male had been discovered. 

Hutchison did not know the approximate time of the lacerations, or the time of death. 

He said the man was outside when, presumably, he punched the window. 

The sheriff’s office is conducting the investigation, because the death falls just outside of city limits, within county jurisdiction.

“It looks like an accident,” said Hutchison, noting that “we obviously can’t say that for certain until the coroner makes that determination – but it appears accidental.”

Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen said an autopsy on a 31-year-old male is pending on the case.


State fair progressing with safety restrictions

DOUGLAS (WNE) — As Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, along with rodeo officials, announced that major rodeos, including Cheyenne Frontier Days, would be cancelled due to the COVID-19 restrictions, many around the state were wondering if the same fate would fall to the Wyoming State Fair. 

“The fair is still planned for Aug. 11-14, and we are working with all of the health and safety guidelines,” Wyoming State Fair Director Courtny Conkle said. 

Officials are working on a health plan that is currently 45 pages. 

“We started with more than 100 pages,” Conkle said. 

The plan will include guidance to staff and ways to keep social distancing, according to Conkle. 

“When we started the health and safety plan for the 2020 state fair, we started dissecting everything that makes up the entirety of a great fair and looking at those individual challenges and addressing each one of them by hand,” she said. 

Staff will undergo new COVID-19 training and the fair will provide free personal protective equipment to attendees, including masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. 

“We’re learning a lot and asking ourselves a lot of questions that we never thought we’d really have to but, I say it a lot, the fair industry and the carnival sector is really adaptive and really resilient,” Conkle said.


Grizzly sighted near Kemmerer

KEMMERER (WNE) — Earlier this week Game and Fish personnel verified through remote camera pictures a grizzly bear in the southern Wyoming Range, northeast of Viva Naughton Reservoir. 

The pictures were obtained by a private individual who reported them to the local Game Warden. Game and Fish verified the authenticity of the pictures and confirmed the presence of a grizzly bear through tracks and hair samples where the pictures were taken. 

This is the furthest south verified location of a grizzly bear since well before recovery efforts began in the 1970s. The location is approximately 65 miles south of the Demographic Monitoring Area (DMA) which is the area considered suitable for the long term viability of grizzly bears by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is further evidence of a recovered and growing grizzly bear population.

The grizzly bear was unmarked and not known to be involved in any conflicts; the pictures and track size are indicative of a subadult bear. Game and Fish will continue to monitor the situation and wants to stress the importance of reporting any conflicts with large carnivores immediately to local Game and Fish personnel.

Hair samples were obtained at the site for further analysis and comparisons with the grizzly bear population genetic database for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.


Longmire Days canceled

BUFFALO (WNE) — Following an announcement last week by Gov. Mark Gordon limiting public gatherings to 250 people to enable social distancing, the Longmire Foundation announced Monday that in-person events planned for Longmire Days will be canceled.

“It is with deep sadness that the Longmire Foundation has decided that we must cancel Longmire Days in-person events planned for August 2020,” the group wrote on its Facebook page. “The safety of everyone, as always, is foremost in our minds, and we feel that the risk to the fans, actors and our community is just too great.”

In announcing the cancellation of in-person events, the foundation announced that it will host “virtual events,” including watch parties, on Aug. 13-16.

“We appreciate the patience of the Longmire fans during this process, and we look forward to hopefully seeing you all again in 2021 for the 10th anniversary of Longmire Days,” the statement says.