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Affidavit: Man roaming downtown bank deployed fire extinguisher on police officer

File; Trevor T. Trujillo, Oil City News

CASPER, Wyo. — Police say a Wyoming man doused a Casper police officer with a fire extinguisher before he was arrested in the stairwell of a bank downtown last Thursday morning, according to an affidavit filed in circuit court.

Police were alerted of suspicious behavior around 7:30 a.m. Thursday on the 100 block of North Durbin Street. A man in a gray shirt was reported to be looking into vehicles, and it appeared to the reporting party that he may have taken something from one vehicle.

Officers recognized a photo taken of the suspect by the reporting party and recognized the suspect from police contact in the days prior, when he was reported for erratic behavior. 

As police reviewed the photo, First Interstate Bank employees reported to police that a man was acting strangely and leaving a trail of blood from a hand wound as he wound through the basement of the bank, the affidavit states.

Officers on scene did not find the suspect in the parking garage, but observed blood in the elevator and on the floor. A citizen on the elevator advised police that the suspect was on the sixth floor. An employee there advised that the suspect was last seen with a fire extinguisher and that he may have gone into a stairwell. The bank has two stairwells, and droplets of blood were seen on both. 

Additional officers were called to patrol the main floor. 

One officer encountered the suspect holding the fire extinguisher on the eighth floor of the stairwell. The officer told the suspect he would tase him if the suspect tried to hit him with the fire extinguisher, and gave multiple commands to put it down, the affidavit states.

The suspect then deployed the fire extinguisher on the officer, dousing him from head to toe in the discharge, the affidavit states. The officer pursued the suspect down one level, took the suspect to the ground, and struggled to cuff him until another officer arrived to assist. 

The suspect was transported to the Wyoming Medical Center for treatment of the bleeding cut on his hand. He was later transported to the police department for questioning, and then to jail.

Officers met with a building supervisor who around 6:30 a.m. had seen the suspect in the area. The supervisor showed officers a broken window at the bottom of a deep window well. Police believe the suspect entered the window well, was unable to climb out, and broke a window to enter the building. He then went out another window, using metal fixtures to climb out of the deep well.

Family members and witnesses from an encounter with the suspect on the previous day said that methamphetamine use played a role in the suspect’s behavior.

The suspect is charged with:

  • Property damage (W.S. 6-3-201), punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine up to $750.
  • Criminal entry (6-3-302), punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine up to $750.
  • Disturbing the peace (W.S 6-6-102), punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine up to $750.
  • Interference with a peace officer (W.S 6-5-204), punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine up to $1,000.