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Investigation into August police shooting in Casper continues
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Investigation into August police shooting in Casper continues

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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.

State agents are still investigating an Aug. 7 police shooting in Casper that left one man dead and a hostage injured.

Because the shooting involved Casper officers, the matter is being examined by a third party: the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation. That’s standard practice in law enforcement shootings in Wyoming.

The state investigative agency is waiting on a technical review of ballistics in the case, DCI Commander Matt Waldock said in an email to the Star-Tribune. That should happen sometime early this month.

Once that occurs, the investigation will be sent to Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen, who will decide whether any charges are warranted in the matter.

Many details about the shooting remain unknown.

Authorities say Casper police and a kidnapping suspect exchanged gunfire after officers responded to a south Casper apartment for a report of a woman being held against her will. During the shooting, the suspect, 45-year-old Robert Land, was killed. The hostage suffered gunshot wounds.

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Police declined at the time to say who shot the suspect or how the hostage was wounded, saying the matter was part of an investigation from outside the city department. They also declined to say how many officers fired their weapons.

Police have said that shortly after officers forced themselves inside, they were fired upon. Officers returned fire before evacuating several people from inside the apartment.

Onlookers did take video from outside the apartment. That video depicts police using a ram to enter the building. Five officers go inside shouting, “show me your hands.” About 13 seconds pass before a gunshot is heard. People inside the apartment can be heard yelling, “hands, hands.” Another 17 seconds pass, and then roughly a dozen more gunshots are heard in short succession.

Within seconds, police ordered four people out of the home and directed them to get on the ground with their hands raised.

Another two minutes pass before what sounds like a final gunshot is heard. Then a woman — later identified as the hostage, is brought out in handcuffs by an officer. Blood can be seen near her pelvis, and she appears to have also suffered an injury to her arm. Three officers can be seen tending to her before the video cuts out.

The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment.

As is typical after shootings involving the police, four officers were placed on administrative leave. The officers will remain on restricted duty, meaning they are out of uniform and serving in an administrative capacity, until the DCI investigation is concluded, according to a department spokeswoman.

The Natrona County Sheriff’s Office also has an investigation tied to the incident. However, that investigation is tied to the criminal activity that occurred prior to the kidnapping call, a sheriff’s official told the Star-Tribune shortly after the shooting.

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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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