A police officer nearly died in an east Casper shootout. Six months later, he made his return to work.
Jacob Carlson and Randi Garrett on May 6 encountered David P. Wolosin, 38, in a dirt lot near Farnum Street after responding to a call about a juvenile problem. A child had been driving Wolosin’s car.
Carlson tried to grab Wolosin by the forearm, thinking he would run, and Wolosin drew a gun and shot Carlson four times. One of the 9mm rounds tore through Carlson’s external iliac artery, the vessel responsible for supplying blood to his leg.
Wolosin, wounded by Carlson’s return fire, lay supine in the lot and fired at the two officers, who ducked behind the car’s wheels. Wolosin’s two juvenile companions remained inside the car.
Officer Randi Garrett rose from behind the front wheel of the car, shooting and killing Wolosin.
In the days following the shootout, Carlson received more than 100 units of blood and blood products. His heart stopped multiple times on an operating room table. He was not released from Wyoming Medical Center for more than a month.
District Attorney Michael Blonigen ruled that Carlson and Garrett were fully justified in shooting at Wolosin.
“Officers Carlson and Garrett reacted in a commendable and appropriate way to protect themselves from a deadly and unprovoked assault upon them,” Blonigen wrote in a letter announcing his determination.
On July 30, Chief Keith McPheeters awarded him a Purple Heart and Medal of Valor — the latter is the department’s highest honor — in an emotional ceremony at David Street Station in downtown Casper. Roughly 1,000 people attended.
In mid-August, Carlson told the Star-Tribune that McPheeters had demanded he return to work against the advice of his doctors. His attorney, Don Fuller, penned a letter to the chief and Casper City Council, stating his client should not be required to return to work or take a pay cut. The lawyer asked in the letter if Carlson would be required to pay to replace his gun, which was damaged in the shootout.
In a morning press conference the next day, city officials said Carlson remained on administrative leave — allowing him to draw a full salary without working or taking vacation days. When asked about a letter signed by McPheeters and stating Carlson was to return to work, City Manager Carter Napier said it had been drafted but never sent out.
Later the same day, McPheeters said at a press conference that he failed to effectively communicate with Carlson.
City and police officials the next week agreed to give a Carlson eight more weeks of paid leave. On Nov. 1, he returned to work on a light duty assignment. Carlson said then that trauma surgeon Dr. Darren Bowe told him it’d be six months to a year before he’s on the street again.