Casper PD Chief: Officers in August Shootout ‘Brave in Face of Chaos’
All of the officers involved in the deadly shootout that left a suspect dead acted heroically in midst of deadly chaos, Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters said Friday.
McPheeters and other local law enforcement representatives addressed the public and members of the media Friday and gave a further look into a shootout that stemmed from a hostage situation in August.
"The circumstances faced by these officers were difficult, chaotic, rapidly evolving, tense and uncertain," McPheeters said. "From the very first moment they were called upon to intervene in this situation, they were obligated to do what they could to prevent things from getting worse for the victim.
"By definition, events of this nature cannot be scripted or choreographed."
The police chief's statement came after roughly 30 minutes of officer-worn body camera footage was publicly played on social media.
According to police, officers were called to an apartment in the 2200 block of Jefferson at roughly 7 a.m. August 7.
The caller told dispatchers that his ex-girlfriend was being held at gunpoint inside of an apartment. He also said that the kidnapper was demanding $250 for his ex-girlfriend's release, police said.
The video, which consisted of clips from multiple body cams begins with officers setting up a perimeter around the building.
"I think someone is being held hostage inside," an officer says to another officer. "I'm not sure. I was told to hold a perimeter, so that's what I'm doing."
After efforts to make contact with the people inside the apartment, officers began shouting commands toward the apartment.
"This is the Casper police department," an officer shouts. "Exit the apartment with your hands up."
There's no response.
"We want to make sure you're safe. Please come to the door and exit with empty hands."
A man exits the apartment with his hands up. Eventually, police learn that they were told someone was being held hostage in the man's apartment. He seems shocked at the information and allows police to search his residence.
Police begin a methodical process of checking each apartment until only one apartment remains. Eventually, police pinged the hostage's phone and determine she's in the last remaining apartment.
After still not getting a response, police regroup and determine that they're going to have to force their way into the building.
Police bang on the door. An officer shouts to come to the door.
"Hit it," another officer says before they file into the apartment. A few moments go by when a single gunshot rings out. Then another shot followed immediately by a rapid succession of gunfire.
During the news conference, McPheeters said a bullet narrowly missed hitting an officer in the head when he attempted to open the bedroom door.
Despite a narrow miss, McPheeters said, the officer immediately began trying to get into the room to help the kidnapping victim.
"Our community can have pride and trust in their Casper police officers," McPheeters said.
Robert Land, who police say shot at officers, was killed in the shootout. Twenty-three-year-old Darren Monroe was recently arrested on kidnapping charges. A second suspect, Kayla Woolitz, remains at large.
A total of 54 law enforcement officers from local and statewide agencies assisted in the immediate response and investigation.