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Wounded Casper police officer now breathing unassisted, can answer questions

A Casper police officer wounded in a May 6 shootout is now breathing unassisted and can nod and shake his head in response to yes or no questions.

Jacob Carlson, a three-year veteran of the force, was shot five times in a gunfight with David P. Wolosin, 38, of Casper, in a dirt lot near Fairdale Park. Two of the bullets were at least partly stopped by Carlson’s bulletproof vest. He was also struck twice in the legs and once in the lower waist.

Another police officer involved in the gunfight, Randi Garrett, was not injured. Police shot and killed Wolosin during the incident.

Although Carlson’s medical condition has continued to improve since the gunfight, Chief Keith McPheeters said Monday afternoon that the officer remains in critical condition.

A statement by the Carlson family released through the Casper Police Department’s Facebook page thanked the community and asked for privacy.

“I just want to extend my greatest gratitude towards my family, Jacob’s family, my law enforcement family, and to all of those who have reached out during this difficult time. I am overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received,” the post reads. “I want to extend my greatest gratitude for all of the love and support we have received. But I also ask that the questions and details not be asked during this difficult time as my husband is currently fighting for his life.”

The statement, which was posted Monday afternoon, was attributed to the “family of Officer Jacob Carlson.”

When Carlson was hospitalized May 6, he had suffered severe blood loss. The bullet that entered in his lower waist had damaged an artery. The policeman underwent multiple life-saving operations that day, McPheeters said.

McPheeters said he wanted to protect the officer’s privacy and spoke generally about Carlson’s medical condition, but added surgeons had performed two more surgeries that the chief described as “critical.”

On Wednesday, Garrett released a statement to the Star-Tribune through her attorney.

“I want to thank the community for the outpouring of support,” Garrett said. “Please focus your prayers on my friend and fellow officer fighting for his life.”

By Thursday, Carlson had regained consciousness, McPheeters said.

Over the weekend the wounded officer had begun breathing on his own and answering yes or no questions.

The police chief said Monday he was proud of his department and the community’s support of Carlson. The chief said that officers were appreciative of an outpouring of support for Carlson.

“I’m also proud of his family who has been steadfast and strong by his side,” McPheeters said. “They have handled this tragedy in a very exceptional manner.”

Carlson’s family does not want to speak to news outlets, a Casper Police Department spokesman said Friday. Family members were not contacted to comment for this story.

Casper’s United Blood Services reported increased donations last week. Carlson had required more than 100 units of blood and blood products, which required blood be shipped in from out of town. Meanwhile, an online fundraiser for Carlson’s family had raised more than $70,000 by Monday afternoon.

Agencies from across the state had offered to help cover Casper’s 911 calls following the shooting. The Natrona County Sheriff’s Office, the Mills Police Department, Evansville Police Department and Wyoming Highway Patrol assisted in taking calls in the days following the shooting.

McPheeters thanked medical staff for their work. He said Carlson’s improving condition was partly indicated by frustration at being stuck in a hospital bed.

“I’m not a medical professional,” McPheeters said. “But he’s defied some long odds.”

David Street Station expansions almost complete

Casper residents will have no excuse if they’re bored this summer.

A series of events, including farmers markets, concerts and family game nights, will be held at David Street Station after an expansion project wraps up later this month, according to Brandon Daigle, chairman of the Downtown Development Authority.

“We’ll have at least four events every week,” he said.

The station — a downtown public complex that features an outdoor stage and ample seating — opened with fanfare last August. But that only marked the completion of the project’s first phase.

Construction continued on the second phase, which includes the addition of public restrooms, a splash pad, a seasonal ice skating rink, an observation desk and an informational kiosk. A grand opening ceremony is slated for June 1.

“It feels like a dream come true … It’s been well worth all of the long nights,” said Daigle.

The chairman added that the station’s website,, is now up and running.

Vice Mayor Charlie Powell told the Star-Tribune last month that he’s looking forward to the project’s completion. Between the new features and all the events, Powell said he expects a wide range of residents will enjoy the facility.

“This is a big deal,” said Powell, explaining that the city’s leaders have worked for years to create a lively atmosphere downtown.

City leaders hope the station will serve as an anchor that draws visitors and new businesses to the city’s core. Already, there are signs the space might be having that effect. New businesses have popped up in the surrounding blocks including Racca’s Pizzeria Napoletana, Urban Bottle and the Gaslight Social bar.

Matt Galloway, the owner of the Gaslight Social, previously told the Star-Tribune that it played a role in his decision to open an establishment downtown.

“I thought to myself ‘I’m going to be on the outside looking in’ … I wanted to be part of this major [revitalization] movement,” said Galloway, who owns other businesses on the city’s outskirts.

Hundreds gathered at the first grand opening last August, including Gov. Matt Mead.

The governor spoke at the event and said the David Street Station was proof that “when [Casper] needs something done, it gets it done.”

Yellowstone's Steamboat Geyser erupts for 5th time this year

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — The world’s largest active geyser has erupted again in Yellowstone National Park.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the Steamboat Geyser erupted just before 4 a.m. Sunday, its fifth eruption so far this year.

In a series of tweets, the agency said there’s no indication of any volcanic activity in the park and that most geysers are intermittent. However, it says the string of eruptions is a good sign that summer visitors will get to see some “spectacular geysering.”

Unlike some of the other Yellowstone geysers, which erupt relatively predictably, Steamboat goes through periods of dormancy, including one that lasted nine years.

Its first eruption since 2014 occurred in mid-March, followed by two other eruptions in April and another on May 4.

Scientists say this year’s eruptions have been about a quarter of the size of the ones from four years ago. The size of the eruptions depend on how much pressure has built in the reservoir of boiling water that feeds the geyser.

Earlier this month scientists deployed 28 seismographs around the geyser to gather data in hopes of catching it erupting again to learn more about Steamboat.

Yellowstone is home to more than 10,000 geysers and the world’s largest volcano. Steamboat Geyser is in the Norris Basin, considered one of the most dynamic places in the park. Researchers have placed a GPS sensor in Norris Basin to record ground movement, which are generally no more than a few millimeters in any direction.

58 dead in Gaza protests as Israel fetes US Embassy move

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — In a jarring contrast, Israeli forces shot and killed at least 58 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,200 during mass protests Monday along the Gaza border, while just a few miles away Israel and the U.S. held a festive inauguration ceremony for the new American Embassy in contested Jerusalem.

It was by far the deadliest day of cross-border violence since a devastating 2014 war between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers and further dimmed the already bleak prospects for President Donald Trump's hoped-for peace plan.

Throughout the day, Gaza protesters set tires ablaze, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air and hurled firebombs and stones toward Israeli troops across the border. The Israeli military, which has come under international criticism for using excessive force against unarmed protesters, said Hamas tried to carry out bombing and shooting attacks under the cover of the protests and released video of protesters ripping away parts of the barbed-wire border fence.

Monday's protests culminated more than a month of weekly demonstrations aimed at breaking a crippling Israeli-Egyptian border blockade. But the U.S. Embassy move, bitterly opposed by the Palestinians, added further fuel.

There was barely any mention of the Gaza violence at Monday's lavish inauguration ceremony for the new embassy, an upgraded consular building located just 50 miles away. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials joined an American delegation of Trump administration officials and Republican and evangelical Christian supporters.

Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and chief Mideast adviser, headlined the U.S. delegation with his wife and fellow White House adviser, Ivanka Trump, as well as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and four Republican senators. Republican super-donor Sheldon Adelson was also present, and evangelical pastors Robert Jeffress and John Hagee delivered blessings.

"A great day for Israel!" Trump tweeted earlier Monday.

In a videotaped address, Trump said the embassy move, a key campaign promise, recognizes the "plain reality" that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Yet he added the United States "remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement."

But Monday's steadily climbing death toll and wall-to-wall condemnation of the embassy move in the Arab world raised new doubts about Trump's ambitions to broker what he called the "deal of the century." More than a year after taking office, Trump's Mideast team has yet to produce a long-promised peace plan.

Trump says recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital acknowledges the reality that Israel's government is located there as well as the ancient Jewish connection to the city. He insists the decision has no impact on future negotiations on the city's final borders.

But to both Israel and the Palestinians, the American gesture is widely seen as siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in their longstanding conflict.

"What a glorious day. Remember this moment. This is history," Netanyahu told the inauguration ceremony.

"You can only build peace on truth, and the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state," he added.

The Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as their capital, have cut off ties with the Trump administration and say the U.S. is unfit to serve as a mediator. Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed the area in a move that is not internationally recognized.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, furious over the embassy ceremony, said he "will not accept" any peace deal proposed by the Trump administration.

The Palestinian president also urged the international community to condemn what he said were "massacres" carried out by Israeli troops in Gaza, and officials said the Palestinians would file a war crimes complaint against Israel in the International Criminal Court over settlement construction.

At least 58 Palestinians, including a young girl and four other minors, were killed, the Gaza Health Ministry said. It said 1,204 Palestinians were wounded by gunfire, including 116 who were in serious or critical condition.

Egypt, an important Israeli ally, condemned the killings of Palestinian protesters, while the U.N. human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, decried the "shocking killing of dozens."

Turkey said it was recalling its ambassador to the United States over the U.S. Embassy move, saying it "disregarded the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people" and would "not serve peace, security and stability in the region." It also recalled its ambassador to Israel following what it called a "massacre" of Palestinians on the Gaza border.

South Africa, a fervent supporter of the Palestinians, also recalled its ambassador for consultations, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, called on Israel to respect the "principle of proportionality in the use of force" and show restraint, while also urging Hamas to ensure any protests remain peaceful. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a similar appeal.

At the U.S. Embassy ceremony in Jerusalem, Kushner placed the blame on the Gaza protesters.

"As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution," he said.

Behnaz Hosseini, NPS 

Steamboat Geyser is seen in the steam phase of eruption on March 16. The steam phase usually follows a few- to tens-of-minutes water phase and can last for hours to days.