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Authorities still investigating who wounded hostage during police shootout
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Authorities still investigating who wounded hostage during police shootout

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Police shooting

Officers stand in front of a south Casper apartment building where police exchanged gunfire with civilians while responding to a kidnapping call. One person died and a second was injured.

Authorities are still investigating how a hostage was wounded during an exchange of gunfire between Casper police and a kidnapping suspect on Friday.

The shooting took place in a south Casper apartment after police responded to a report of a woman being held against her will. During the shooting, the suspect was killed and the hostage suffered gunshot wounds.

Who shot the suspect and the hostage is also a matter of investigation, Casper Police Department spokeswoman Rebekah Ladd said Tuesday.

“I do not have that information because it is part of an investigation outside our agency,” she said.

That investigation involves both the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office, police said.

Officials with the Division of Criminal Investigation have not responded to a lengthy list of questions sent to them Sunday by the Star-Tribune.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office, meanwhile, said his agency’s involvement pertains to the criminal activity that precipitated the kidnapping call. Sgt. Taylor Courtney said authorities have not charged anyone in connection with that aspect of the incident.

A video of the incident show police using a ram to enter the building on the 2200 block of South Jefferson before multiple gunshots are heard.

A woman was later brought outside by Casper police in handcuffs and laid in the grass in front of the apartment. She was visibly bleeding from a wound near her pelvis, and was later taken away in an ambulance after being tended to by what appeared to be three law enforcement officers. Police say she was shot.

No officers were injured.

“The incident in itself is complicated,” Ladd said. “And when the officers entered into the residence, it was very much a chaotic situation.”

Police released a statement Tuesday with more information on the shooting. It did not say who shot the hostage or the suspect who died at the apartment, identified as 45-year-old Robert Land.

According to the statement, four officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave. Ladd said she was not at liberty to say how many officers fired their weapons.

“This action has been taken out of an abundance of caution, pending a full investigation by DCI,” the police statement said. “This protocol is in place to ensure the integrity of the investigation as well as to safeguard the mental health of the officers after a traumatic event.”

Officers responding to the call Friday evacuated several apartments in the building while searching for the hostage. When they found the right apartment, they attempted to communicate with the people inside, according to the statement police released on Tuesday.

Shortly after police forced themselves inside, they were fired upon, police said. The statement does not indicate who fired those shots. Officers returned fire and safely evacuated several people from inside the apartment, the statement says.

On the video, a gunshot is heard about 13 seconds after the incident. People inside can be heard yelling, “hands, hands.” About 17 seconds after the first shot, roughly a dozen more gunshots are heard in short succession.

Four people can be seen being taken outside and ordered to the ground by police. The injured woman is then taken out.

Police say the woman who was held at gunpoint and was later seen wounded was transported by ambulance to a hospital and later released.

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Editor

Joshua Wolfson joined the Star-Tribune in 2007, covering crime and health before taking over the arts section in 2013. He also served as managing editor before being named editor in June 2017. He lives in Casper with his wife and their two kids.

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