Wyoming News in Brief, Dec. 11, 2018

NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2018

From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers



Rawlins school locked down after student brings gun


RAWLINS (WNE)— A Rawlins Elementary School student was apprehended by local authorities on Tuesday after bringing a handgun to campus.

No shots were fired and no one was hurt. The caliber of the weapon was not reported.

Carbon County School District 1 Superintendent Mike Hamel says the student, whose name and age weren’t released due to precautions regarding a minor, was showing the firearm to a classmate outside of the RES 2-5 building prior to 8 a.m., before school was in session.

Upon showing the fellow classmate the weapon, says Hamel, the classmate advised the student who was carrying the handgun to bring it to a playground aid. Subsequently, both students did in fact bring it to a school supervisor’s attention and the authorities were soon notified.

According to a Rawlins Police Department press release, authorities received the incoming report at 8:01 a.m. and that “officers responded immediately to the school which had been placed on lockdown by school staff.”

From there, Hamel says being class wasn’t in session, the few students whom were already inside the building were closely supervised by adults, while no one was allowed through the school’s buzz-in system. Meanwhile, the student was immediately taken to the office.

Hamel estimated the lockdown to be between 50 to 60 minutes. Once the lockdown was lifted, normal school activities resumed, according to a CCSD1 press release.

As to where and how the student managed to obtain possession of the firearm hasn’t been confirmed by the Rawlins Times. RPD Lt. Richard Hooper did say, however, that the student did not have malicious intent.

“The student wasn’t threatening anyone,” he told the Rawlins Times Tuesday afternoon.




AG rules some video “skill games” against the law


CHEYENNE (WNE)— Attorney General Peter Michael declared some video "skill games" illegal under Wyoming gambling laws Tuesday.

In a formal opinion letter addressed to Natrona County District Attorney Michael Blonigen, Michael said electronic slot-type games manufactured primarily by Banilla Games Inc. and used in various Wyoming establishments should be considered gambling.

"Because gambling in Wyoming is a crime, not a civil violation, local law enforcement officials and prosecutors will need to determine the timing of the appropriate next steps if their communities have these machines," Michael said.

This will likely result in law enforcement officials asking business owners to remove any games fitting this description.

Blonigen asked the Wyoming Attorney General's Office to investigate the lawfulness of these so-called "skill" games, and Michael worked with the device distributors to examine how they operate. According to Wyoming law, a slot machine is illegal when it's primarily a game of chance.

Michael determined that the "Nudge" and "Hot Swap"-themed games include financial wagers and elements of chance.

"These machines are illegal gambling devices under Wyoming law," Michael said in the letter.

Games include titles such as Bathtime Bucks, Fruity Sevens, Spooky's Loot and Mega Money Reel.

In the letter, Michael said the machines were programmed to yield predetermined amounts on each spin. Because of this, a percentage of money inserted in the machine will be paid out to players, but programming ensures the owner will keep some, too.

"In other words, the machines are always to keep some total of the wagered amount for the owners and operators," he wrote.




Gillette man dies after driving off of highway


GILLETTE (WNE)— A Gillette man died Sunday after a medical emergency forced him to drift off Highway 59 near Wright, according to a Wyoming Highway Patrol press release.

Dale Patterson, 60, hit three fences near the right side of the roadway before coming to a stop. He succumbed to injuries from the medical emergency rather than from the crash, said Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeremy Beck.

No one was with Patterson at the time, and no other vehicles were involved in the crash, which happened at about 5 p.m.

Chief Deputy Coroner Steve Rozier said his investigation has revealed Patterson’s death was the result of the medical emergency, which he could not specify because he has not yet received the official report from the doctor who examined Patterson.




Two killed in Shoshoni house fire


RIVERTON (WNE) — Two Fremont County residents died early Sunday in a house fire in Shoshoni.

Officials would not release the names of the deceased Tuesday pending family notification. Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen said a 57-year-old woman and her 64-year-old husband died at the scene of the fire, which was reported at about 6:20 a.m. Sunday at their home in the 100 block of West Fifth Street in Shoshoni.

Fremont County Fire Protection District chief Craig Haslam said a neighbor smelled and saw smoke coming from the roof of the house and called it in as a possible structure fire.

He said the first firefighters to arrive at the scene saw heavy smoke coming from the roof and made entry, knowing the occupants may have been inside.

"They found one person immediately," Haslam said, describing "active flames" inside of the house. "It took us a while to find the other one."

He said the first occupant was found in the front room of the home, while the other was in a hallway.

Both were removed from the burning building to be examined by ambulance crews while firefighters continued battling the blaze, Haslam said.

The house was a total loss, he continued, though the brick walls are still in place and the roof is still "on."

"The interior is shot," Haslam said. "The house is damaged pretty severely inside."

Due to the brick construction, he said no nearby structures were threatened during the fire.