City and police officials agreed Tuesday to give a Casper police officer seriously injured in a May gunfight eight more weeks of paid leave.
Officer Jacob Carlson and his attorney met with City Manager Carter Napier, Chief Keith McPheeters and City Attorney John Henley on Tuesday afternoon, according to a city press release. Though Carlson told the group that he hoped to return to work, he asked the officials for eight more weeks of paid leave. He told them he would provide a medical release supporting his request.
Napier, McPheeters and Henley agreed to extend Carlson’s leave, according to the announcement.
The agreement comes a week after Carlson told the Star-Tribune that McPheeters had told him to return to work in mid-August, against the recommendations of Carlson’s doctors. Carlson said the chief also told him that the department would not be able to give him a part-time job.
In an interview last week, Carlson said his doctors had told him he should be declared fully disabled.
Carlson’s attorney, Don Fuller, said he was “quite pleased” with the agreement, which he said lifted the pressure Carlson was feeling to return to work before he was ready.
“All we were seeking was a little more time to recover,” Fuller said Tuesday.
Henley did not immediately respond to a Tuesday afternoon message left at his office seeking further comment.
“The City of Casper is looking forward to learning of Officer Carlson’s further improvement and, if he desires, his return to work with the City of Casper,” the city’s announcement states.
Carlson, a 27-year-old Army veteran, was shot at least four times in a May 6 gunfight that left his assailant dead and Carlson severely injured. He required multiple surgeries and received more than a 100 units of blood and blood products. He spent a month in the hospital and is still recovering from the injuries.
After Carlson spoke to the Star-Tribune last week, the city held two press conferences about the officer’s status on Aug. 21. At the first one, Napier said Carlson was still on administrative leave and was drawing a full salary. But Fuller provided a letter to the Star-Tribune that was signed by McPheeters and stated that the police department was removing Carlson from leave and he should return to work on Aug. 20.
Henley, the city attorney, kicked Fuller out of the meeting after the two began arguing. With his attorney removed, Carlson left the press conference as well.
Later that same day, McPheeters called another conference and said he failed to effectively communicate with Carlson and that he was acting in accordance with his “perception” of what Carlson wanted and needed.
On May 6, Carlson responded to a dirt lot in east Casper to provide backup for Officer Randi Garrett, who was speaking with a man who had allowed a young child to drive a car.
After Carlson arrived, the man, 38-year-old David Wolosin, began moving away from the officers. When Carlson reached out to grab him, Wolosin pulled out a pistol and began firing. Both officers shot back, with Garret firing the shot that killed Wolosin.
Natrona County District Attorney Michael Blonigen concluded that Carlson and Garrett were fully justified in shooting at Wolosin.
Doctors at Wyoming Medical Center treated Carlson for a shattered pelvis, a severed artery in his pelvic area, infections and nerve damage. He underwent multiple surgeries and nearly died.