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A Casper man pleaded not guilty Friday morning to eight felonies alleging he attempted to shoot two police officers in July.

Jessie J. Contreras entered his pleas in Natrona County District Court, where he appeared in jail garb.

As Judge Thomas Sullins read through the charges, Contreras bowed his head. His court-appointed attorney, Rob Oldham, patted him on the back firmly.

When Sullins read a charge of aggravated kidnapping, which carries with it a potential penalty of life imprisonment, Contreras brought his manacled hands to his face.

Finally, Contreras was given the opportunity to respond.

“Not guilty,” he muttered, while shaking his head rapidly from side to side.

Court documents filed in the case allege Contreras entered a home where his ex-girlfriend was staying. Contreras pointed a gun at his ex-girlfriend before grabbing the woman by the wrist and pointing the gun at a male resident, the documents state.

Contreras told the woman, “watch this,” and fired the gun at the man, police allege in the documents.

The man was not hit by the bullet.

The woman then ran outside and hid. Contreras soon found her and ordered her back into the trailer home, the documents state. She went into the trailer.

Contreras was loading the other people’s possessions into a van when police arrived, according to the documents.

When Officer Seth Wheeler saw Contreras leave the trailer home with a pistol in his hand, he told the man to drop it, the documents state. Contreras ran back into the house. He then jumped out the back window of the home.

Wheeler heard a chain link fence rattle behind the trailer and ran to a nearby alley, according to the documents. Officer Kellan Stenhaug cut across an apartment complex courtyard and reached the alley, where he saw Contreras running, the documents state.

Contreras then turned and saw Wheeler blocking his path, according to the documents. He lifted his gun and pointed it at the two officers in turn, the documents state. Police say they saw Contreras’ finger flexing but the gun did not fire.

Surrounded by police, Contreras pointed the gun in the air before slamming it to the ground, police say. He then began walking toward Wheeler, who took Contreras to the ground, the documents state.

When police examined the gun, the bullets in the magazine were “tumbled,” according to the documents.

Initial filings in the case misspell Contreras’s last name and a prior Star-Tribune article reflected that misspelling.

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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