Casper College Homicide

Crime scene tape surrounds the home of Casper College professors Jim Krumm and Heidi Arnold on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 on Hawthorne Avenue in Casper, Wyo. The couple were killed by Krumm's 25-year-old son Chris Krumm on Friday morning. Arnold died from knife wounds on the street in front of the house, after which Chris Krumm killed his father and himself in a Casper College classroom. (Alan Rogers, Star-Tribune)

Alan Rogers

In front of the Wold Physical Science Center at Casper College on Saturday, caution tape flapped in the wind. Police cars filled the parking lot. The din of boilers and the whistle of wind filled the air.

But mostly silence lingered.

The commotion, panic and urgency of Friday’s murder-suicide had subsided at the college. The sirens were off. Most buildings were empty. The memory of the horrific acts that took place in Room 325 lingered. Casper College President Walter Nolte walked alone Saturday morning, sipping his coffee.  

As he strolled down the sidewalk in front of the building, he praised the campus alert system with half of a smile on his face.

“What we did really well was evacuate the building,” he said.

Students were back on campus Saturday. The reasons varied.

“Some students are in counseling today,” he said.

Amid the fervor of evacuation, material possessions were of little value to all who were inside. When students and faculty vacated the physical science building, they left their keys, backpacks, laptops and other personal possessions, Nolte said. Throughout Saturday, police let students into the building to retrieve what was left behind the day before.

Caution tape and evidence stickers still clung to the doors of the building. Lt. Steve Schulz of the Casper Police Department exited carrying oversized garbage bags.

“We’re cleaning up the inside from yesterday,” he said.

He had just let a student in to retrieve her possessions.

When asked about his force, he said his fellow officers, many of whom are working overtime this weekend, took care of business in the heat of Friday’s tragedy.

“It’s what we do,” he said.

Some students were back to their studies on Saturday, Nolte said. A few occupied the college’s labs.   

“The art building [which is next to the science center] is usually open on Saturday,” he said.

Caution tape was sewn between the building's door handles. The doors were locked.

Freshman Trevor Baxter was working on a play with some of his peers.

His shock from Friday had faded.

Students left campus on Friday and didn’t come back.

“A lot of us weren’t affected,” he said. “We weren’t by it or we didn’t know the people inside the classroom."

Baxter’s roommate was in the physical science building when Chris Krumm entered Room 325 with knives and a compound bow to kill his father, James Krumm, and end his own life.  

“He’s OK,” Baxter said. “He’s probably still sleeping.”

As police continued to shuffle in and out of the building, Nolte remained a presence.

The college president removed caution tape from the road and untangled it from the trees. By the minute, the campus was returning to normal with its leader at the helm.

 

Hawthorne Avenue

On Saturday, there were few  -- if any -- signs of the tragedy that had taken place just a day ago. Blood-stained pavement and the remnants of a crime scene were the only indicators of tragedy. Droves of cars passed by the home of Jim Krumm and Heidi Arnold. The drivers and passengers turned their heads. Children with skateboards and scooters walked past , walking close to the caution tape and scurrying away.

Jim Krumm's house has the veneer of a normal suburban life, down to the the baby blue trim and cream-colored paint. A sailboat rested along the side of the house. A tackle box was in the trunk of a rusty Ford Bronco.  A basketball hoop hung off the garage.  

“I can’t keep it out of my head,” said Heather Meier. Her home is across the street from where the body of Heidi Arnold had lain the day before. From her living room window, she could see the corpse.

“They never covered it,” she said.

Arnold’s body was barefoot. Her midriff was visible. Meier feared her 7-year-old daughter would be traumatized.

“I thought they took an awfully long time to move the body,” she said.

The body lay in the street for nearly 11 hours, Meier said.

Sandra Maben lives two doors down from Arnold’s home.

“I wanted to cover her and the police wouldn’t let me,” Maben said.

She yelled at the police, replete with tears. She demanded the police set barriers to prevent public view of Arnold’s body.

“The vehicles should have been there immediately,” she said.

Maben said she was acquaintances with Jim Krumm and Arnold.

“They were wonderful people,” she said.

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