CASPER, Wyo. — Police officers arrested a Casper man alleged to have sprayed his girlfriend and four year old child with bear mace.
Brian Joseph Johnson was arrested and charged with domestic assault, child endangerment and probation revocation, according to a police affidavit.
In the early morning hours of Thursday, Oct. 24, officers were dispatched to apartments at Westwood Hill with dispatch receiving reports that a man had sprayed his girlfriend and child with a can of bear mace.
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Neighbors reported difficulty breathing due to the mace as well, the affidavit adds.
Officer Casson Burgen reported feeling the mace in the air while standing inside the hallway outside the door of the downstairs apartment.
Burgen then located a woman and a four year old in an adjacent building. The woman was “holding her eyes in pain” and the child had her eyes closed with “bright red color” and was unable to open them.
Emergency Medical Service providers were called and evaluated both individuals and transported them the the Wyoming Medical Center for further treatment.
Burgen interviewed an upstairs neighbor who said that they had heard yelling, adding that fighting happens almost every night.
When the neighbor’s eyes became watery and started to cough, they had their family move out into the hallway “due to the strong smell of bear mace.”
“Officers were handed a bottle of Frontiersman Bear Attack Deterrent” during the course of their investigation.
Officer Burgen road in the ambulance to the WMC with the alleged victims.
The woman says that Johnson accused her of laughing at him. She said that Johnson then left the apartment and she began to pack belongings to stay with her mother for the night.
She claims that Johnson returned and saw her moving things into her vehicle and became angry and threw things out of the vehicle and onto the lawn.
She says she picked things up, had a cigarette and returned to the apartment. When she got inside, she reported being “instantly blinded and started coughing.”
She initially ran outside but remembered that the child was inside and went back inside where she heard moaning inside of the room where the child had been sleeping.
She woke the child up and ran outside toward neighbors, the affidavit says.
The woman denied that Johnson had sprayed her directly in the face. The affidavit says that she also told officers she didn’t want to get him in trouble. She told officers that “Johnson did not intend to spray [her] in the eye.”
Officers observed video surveillance footage that shows the woman running out of the apartment and rubbing snow in her eyes. It also showed Johnson throwing bags out of the vehicle as well as the woman later running out of the apartment with the child.
After consulting with the Assistant District Attorney, officers arrested Johnson on the above named recommended charges. They obtained consent from the woman to search the apartment where they located Johnson laying down.
After handcuffing him and reading his rights, officers asked if he wanted to share his side of the story but Johnson immediately asked for his attorney.
Johnson had a laceration on his neck and had to get medically cleared by the WMC prior to being transported to the Natrona County Detention Center.
While at the detention center, officers were informed that Johnson was on federal probation. Johnson said he didn’t know who his probation officer was.
All of those cited or arrested are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law. Charges are subject to change following official filings from the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office.