Wyoming news briefs for July 2


Ten-hour Gillette standoff ends with arrests

GILLETTE — Two men were arrested following a Wednesday standoff at a Gillette apartment that lasted into Thursday morning.

An unidentified 27-year-old man reported that a 42-year-old man had refused to exit a black Dodge Ram he had borrowed from the the 27-year-old. The suspect then fled and entered a 62-year-old man’s apartment and barricaded himself there. The 62-year-old reported he was “fearful” of the suspect and requested that he be removed from the home, said Police Lt. Brent Wasson.

Police arrived at 6:28 p.m., at which time they set up road blocks and established a command post for the standoff. At some point, the police used a robot to find the suspect, who was hiding underneath a bed in the apartment.

The suspect was eventually arrested on suspicion of possession of liquid meth, which officers found inside the Dodge; unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; interference; and on a warrant on an original drug charge, assault and interference, Wasson said.

Just after 3 a.m. officers got a search warrant for the apartment, where they found about 7 grams of crystal meth and a handgun.

The 62-year-old old man also was arrested on suspicion of possession of meth.

The Police Department completely cleared the scene at about 4:20 a.m. Thursday and are investigating whether the firearm brandished by the suspect belonged to someone who had been disqualified from owning one. It is unknown who owned the weapon, Wasson said.

The names of the suspects haven't been released because of the ongoing investigation, Wasson said.

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Yellowstone fire danger rises to ‘very high’

JACKSON — Yellowstone National Park has upgraded its fire danger to “very high” and banned charcoal and wood campfires in the backcountry.

The “very high” level — one step below the top “extreme” danger level — means “fires are going to start easily if we’re careless or if we get lightning,” John Cataldo, the park’s fire management officer, said in an interview posted on Facebook. “And we expect them to spread pretty readily under most conditions that we’ll have during the day here.”

Yellowstone imposed Stage 1 restrictions on campfires and smoking on Thursday, the same day that Stage 1 fire restrictions kicked in for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park.

Though charcoal or wood campfires now aren’t allowed in Yellowstone’s backcountry, portable gas stoves can be used in areas clear of flammable material.

Smoking in the backcountry and on all trails is prohibited except immediately adjacent to fire rings in designated campsites or within a 3-foot-diameter area barren of all flammable material — for example, while standing in water or on a boat.

In the frontcountry and developed areas, campfires are OK only in designated fire rings located in developed campgrounds and in day-use picnic areas.

Smokers can indulge their habit in the frontcountry only in an enclosed vehicle, in a single-family dwelling, in a developed campground, in a day-use picnic area or within a 3-foot-diameter area devoid of flammable material.

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Cheyenne police explain apparent rise in runaways

CHEYENNE —  Despite regularly posting about runaways on social media, the Cheyenne Police Department said in a Thursday news release that there has not been any increase in numbers. 

“CPD has increased the use of social media because of its immediacy and effectiveness in reporting runaways and missing juveniles to the public. While this may make it appear that the rate of runaway juveniles has increased, the numbers have remained consistent annually,” the release says. 

This year, CPD has received 56 reports of runaway juveniles. In 2020, CPD received 115 runaway cases total, and all of the individuals were recovered. 

“It is the policy of the CPD to thoroughly investigate all reports of runaway juveniles and missing persons,” Chief Mark Francisco said in the release. “Social media has been a very effective tool allowing us to locate missing juveniles as quickly as possible during a time where they may be vulnerable.” 

Minors run away for complex reasons, and each case varies. 

The following factors may put youth at an increased risk of running away or becoming homeless:  feeling unsafe at home; abuse; family conflict; lack of acceptance of gender identity and/or sexual orientation; struggling to manage mental health; pregnancy; online enticement; to be with a friend, romantic partner or biological family.

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