Thermopolis Police Chief Pat Cornwell has been tagging “#mascorrostrong” on his social media posts in the week since one if his officers was shot in the line of duty.
Sgt. Mike Mascorro was shot April 28 during a confrontation with Buck Laramore, 33, in the course of a criminal investigation. Laramore was killed, and Mascorro suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
But Mascorro and his family, who have lived in Thermopolis for nine years, are on the receiving end of an overwhelming outpouring of love and support from the community they call home, said Mascorro’s wife, Alyssa.
“We just couldn't be in a better place to call home,” Alyssa told Cowboy State Daily. “Our community has just been phenomenal.”
That close Wyoming community showed its support in a noisy, boisterous way Wednesday, when emergency responders from around the region escorted Mascorro and his family from a hospital in Casper back to Thermopolis.
When they rolled into town, they were met by crowds of people lining the streets to welcome them home.
Alyssa said that from the moment Mike was shot last Friday, the Thermopolis community flew into action.
She pointed to the quick actions of Hot Springs County Sheriff’s Deputy and K-9 Officer Shayna Cox, who kept her husband alive until EMTs could arrive.
“Shayna Cox was the first responder on that scene, rendering the aid with the tourniquet,” said Alyssa. “And that got him in a position where the excellent physicians here at Hot Springs Health, and the nursing staff, they kept him alive, and the surgeon, the EMTs — everyone here was phenomenal.
“Mike would not be here today without them.”
He was transported to Hot Springs Health, where he was stabilized before being life-flighted to Banner Health in Casper.
“They were life-threatening injuries, it was primarily the blood loss,” Alyssa said. “But he got the care he needed immediately. They saved him here, got him stabilized. And he's still dealing with the wounds, (especially) his lungs, his right lung.”
Hero’s Welcome Home
As traumatic as the days following the shooting have been, Alyssa said the ride home from Casper on Wednesday was just as emotional.
“We were escorted by two Highway Patrol (out of Casper), and then they joined up with our local agencies in Shoshoni, where they brought him on through the (Wind River) canyon,” Alyssa said. “We staged at the Wedding of the Waters, and all of the rest of the area law enforcement joined in from, I can't even tell you how many counties.”
Thermopolis Police Chief Pat Cornwell had posted a Facebook message to the community Wednesday morning inviting people to show up in force to welcome Mascorro home.
“I would like to invite all of our community to participate in showing support for Sgt. Mascorro,” he wrote. “Sgt. Mascorro and his family will be escorted by Wyoming Highway Patrol Captain Pittsley and other troopers from Casper to Thermopolis. Please take a few minutes today to stop on Shoshoni Street, South 6th Street, and Broadway. Their estimated time of arrival is 4 p.m. or a few minutes later. Let’s bring him home the Thermopolis Way!!!”
Alyssa said when they drove into town, the family was overwhelmed with the turnout from their friends and neighbors.
“The streets were lined, they were absolutely lined, with our community members,” she said. “It was one of the most incredible things we have ever witnessed. There wasn't a dry eye.”
When they arrived at their house, they were greeted by a Hot Springs School District bus covered with notes of support, along with a full complement of officers from local law enforcement.
“It was just lined with messages from the kids from our community, from the schools,” Alyssa said.
The community has shown its support for the family in other ways as well. A “Mascorro Family Fund” has been set up at Pinnacle Bank to assist the family with financial hardships and medical costs.
Neighboring Agencies Assist
Cornwell notified the community via a Facebook post that Wyoming Highway Patrol and Big Horn County Sheriff's Department deputies would be in and out of Thermopolis for a couple of weeks, taking calls for the department while they’re short-staffed following the shooting.
“They have full authority through the town of Thermopolis and the Thermopolis Police Department to patrol our community and take calls for our department,” Cornwell posted.
He thanked neighboring law enforcement agencies that stepped up to help.
“Thank you, Sheriff Kraushaar, Sheriff Blackburn and Captain Pittsley for assisting our town during this time,” wrote Cornwell. “Thank you to all chief's and sheriffs across the state and beyond for reaching out to help.”
The Mascorros have put down deep roots in Thermopolis since moving there more than nine years ago. Their three children, ages 18, 15 and 14, have grown up in the small town at the north end of the Wind River Canyon, and Alyssa is employed by the Hot Springs County School District.
“We're just so incredibly grateful for the outpouring of the love, support and prayers that this community and the state has provided to us,” she said. “We will be eternally grateful.”