By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The Campbell County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to appoint the Park County prosecuting attorney to investigate the shooting of a Gillette man by police earlier this month.
Park County attorney Brian Skoric has been appointed to review information gathered by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation regarding the shooting of 22-year-old Ismael Montes earlier this month. He will also make a recommendation regarding criminal matters, if the situation does arise.
“The county attorney’s office has noted a conflict of interest and desires to avoid any appearance of impropriety,” deputy county attorney Emily Simper told the commission on Tuesday.
Simper was asked why Campbell County was asking a Park County attorney to investigate, when normally the county will ask neighboring ones to help with incidents like these. Simper said the caseload of neighboring county attorneys factored into asking Skoric to come aboard.
She also noted that counties are not paid for their time to investigate incidents like these, but Campbell County extends a similar courtesy to other counties in the state.
Montes was killed by police in January after officers were called by a person requesting assistance to remove Montes from their home. The caller indicated Montes made threats of violence to the occupants of the house and refused to leave.
When officers arrived at the house, they made contact with Montes, who was armed with a large edged weapon.
Montes refused multiple requests to drop the weapon. Officers deployed two forms of less lethal options and Montes retreated further into the home.
The officers continued to attempt to disarm Montes through less lethal means.
When Montes charged at the officers, swinging the weapon at them, both officers discharged their duty firearms, striking Montes and killing him.
The officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.
The Gillette City Council also approved a resolution to bring in special counsel regarding an incident involving texts sent between the city’s former mayor and city administrator.