An Albany County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man Sunday afternoon in Laramie, authorities said Monday, prompting the family to angrily question why the officer used lethal force.
County Attorney Peggy Trent said the shooting took place around 12:30 p.m. in the 2100 block of Garfield Street. She said she could not provide further information pending the results of an inquiry by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
Debbie Hinkel, who is a standing member of the Albany County Community Mental Health Board, said her son, Robbie Ramirez, 39, was the man shot and killed.
When asked to confirm the dead man’s name, Trent declined to do so, but said, “if that’s what you’re reporting, that’s fine.”
Hinkel told the Star-Tribune her son had schizoaffective disorder, a mental illness sometimes characterized by psychosis. She said he had previously had positive interactions with local law enforcement, despite Ramirez’s worsening paranoia.
On Sunday, the deputy pulled over Ramirez for a traffic violation about a block from his home, Hinkel said. He ran, there was some sort of physical altercation, and the deputy shot Ramirez, she said.
Hinkel said she has spoken with two DCI agents since the shooting but has received little official information.
“Why did you need to kill him? Why did you need to get in a physical fight with him?” Hinkel asked, rhetorically. “This police officer is a loose cannon.”
Hinkel said the deputy should have waited for backup rather than chasing Ramirez and killing him.
The ACLU said in a Monday afternoon statement that the investigation should be transparent and timely.
“We have asked that the sheriff’s office release the name of the officer involved in the shooting, along with any body and/or dash camera footage of the incident,” Sabrina King, ACLU of Wyoming policy director, said in the statement. “Additionally, if the officer involved has been previously involved in police shootings, the sheriff’s office must engage in a comprehensive and public review of hiring practices so Laramie residents can have some assurance this will never happen again.”
A woman answering the sheriff’s office phone Monday morning said Sheriff David O’Malley was not available to comment for this story.
O’Malley did not immediately respond to a Monday afternoon voicemail left on his cell phone.