A statue of Justice at the Townsend Justice Center, as seen through an exterior window of the building, on Center Street in Casper. (File; Trevor T. Trujillo, Oil City News)

CASPER, Wyo. — Under first-time offender statutes, sentencing will be deferred for a man who pleaded guilty to a drive-by shooting in north Casper last December.

Joaquin Chavez Enriquez pleaded guilty to felony property destruction in May, according to court records. A charge of possession of a firearm with unlawful intent was dropped.

Judgement and sentencing was deferred Tuesday in Natrona County District Court under Wyoming’s first-time offender laws. Enriquez will serve 2–3 years of supervised probation. If he violates any law or conditions of probation, some or all of the maximum 10-year penalty could be imposed. 

“This is just the right case for that,” his attorney, Ryan Semerad, said Tuesday, adding that Enriquez has been cooperative and has taken the right steps to make amends. “I think he’s been taking this seriously.”

He noted that Enriquez has no prior offenses.

No one was injured in the Dec. 26, 2021, drive-by at the St. Mary Street residence, according to the Casper police affidavit. Enriquez told police he fired at the house from a vehicle shortly after leaving a party. He said he tried to aim so as to not injure other partygoers.

According to the affidavit, police responded around 4:11 a.m. to a shots fired call. Responding officers found two men in a vehicle with a bullet hole in the window. The driver told officers that Enriquez, his close friend, had been at the party and had threatened to kill him earlier.

Police went to Enriquez’s apartment later that day. He was not at home, but a neighbor told officers they had heard a man banging on the door and calling Enriquez’s name, and then multiple gunshots. Police identified six bullet holes in the windows of the apartment.

“Unfortunately there was not enough evidence or witness information to tie anyone to that specific crime,” Casper Police Lieutenant Jeff Bullard said. “It is closed and inactive.”

While investigating the scene at Enriquez’s apartment, police spotted 9mm shell casings in a vehicle associated with him, the affidavit said.

Enriquez later agreed to meet with police. He described the man whom he had argued with, also the owner of the St. Mary Street residence, as a friend, co-worker, and former roommate. They had gotten into an argument a few days prior over a woman his friend had invited to stay over, which Enriquez felt was inappropriate. Though it had apparently been resolved, they fought about it again while at the north Casper residence during the party in the early morning hours of Dec. 26. 

Enriquez also described a separate argument with two other individuals at the party. He said that shortly after leaving the party around 3:30 a.m., he was followed while on foot by an unknown vehicle, and heard gunshots when he fled, the affidavit said.

Enriquez said he then returned to the St. Mary Street residence in the vehicle that shell casings were later recovered from and fired at the residence.

Enriquez must also pay $4,950 in restitution for damages in the incident.