The police officer who shot and killed a man this week at a Casper gas station was driving to work when he heard over the radio about a dangerous situation that was developing, police said Thursday.
Officer Craig Burns responded Tuesday morning to a Loaf ‘N Jug on the city’s west side after an off-duty sheriff’s deputy spotted a car that authorities say belonged to a suspect who had threatened people with a gun earlier that morning.
Burns was the first officer on the scene, where he encountered a man identified as William T. McCollum. Police have said McCollum threatened the officer, but they did not specify if the suspect fired his weapon before he was shot by Burns.
McCollum, 21, died at the scene. The Natrona County Coroner’s office released his identity Thursday.
Burns, a five-year veteran of the department, was not injured.
Although Burns had not yet begun his workday, he was in full uniform and driving a marked police vehicle, according to a statement released Thursday on the department’s Facebook page. He had been monitoring radio traffic on his way in to work for a daily briefing.
“The Casper Police (Department) is grateful that no other law enforcement officers or citizens were injured during this tragic event and acknowledges the grief felt by Mr. McCollum’s family and friends,” the department said in the statement.
Multiple 911 callers reported that shortly after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, a man had pointed a gun at several people on the 500 block of Granite Drive in Casper. Officers located McCollum, who fled the area but was later found in Evansville, police say.
He then led officers on a high-speed chase down Second Street in Casper. For safety reasons, police temporarily stopped pursuing McCollum before the off-duty sheriff’s deputy spotted his car outside the Loaf ‘N Jug on CY Avenue, according to police.
McCollum died just after 6:30 a.m.
Sgt. Mike Ogden and the police press release referred further comment to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, which typically investigates police shootings.
A DCI spokesman has not responded to calls requesting comment.
Tuesday’s shooting is the third involving Casper police officers this year.