Accused of pointing a gun at a barn builder’s head to enforce the speed limit in his neighborhood, a Natrona County man faces up to 10 years in prison.
Bret Allen Chase, 62, is charged with aggravated assault in Natrona County District Court and set to give his plea in the case Dec. 6.
The investigation started the morning of Oct. 10, when a barn builder had a dispute with Chase on Gothberg Road outside of Casper, Wyoming.
Natrona County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Beall and two others went to a property on Gothberg Road and there met with Chance Matula, who owns a barn building company. Matula reported that Chase had pointed a gun at one of Matula’s employees, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed Oct. 11.
Beall then spoke to the employee, Donald Whalen.
Whalen said he was driving down Gothberg early that morning and slowed to avoid hitting a German shepherd dog on the road.
Whalen knew the dog belonged to a man who lived in that area, later identified as Chase, who had “repeatedly confronted him and his coworkers for driving on the public road,” the affidavit says.
Just then, Chase allegedly emerged wearing a dark-colored hoodie and stepped into the road.
Whalen stopped driving.
“Why do you have to be like that?” Whalen asked Chase.
The question was in reference to Chase having harangued the barn builders in the past as they drove to their job assignment down the road, the affidavit says.
‘Why Do You Gotta Be …’
Chase said the speed limit on that road is 20 mph.
“I was driving 20 mph, why do you gotta be such a dickhead?” Whalen answered, according to his later interview with the deputy.
Chase reached into his front sweatshirt pocket, pulled out a small black pistol, reached his arm through the passenger side window and pointed the pistol at Whalen’s head, allegedly.
“I DON’T LIKE TO BE CALLED A DICKHEAD,” Chase shouted, according to the affidavit, which relates the comment in all-caps letters.
“OK, OK,” said Whalen, who was able to get away and drive to his job site, the document indicates.
Whalen told Beall he did wish to pursue a criminal charge against Chase because he thought he was going to be shot.
Filling In Potholes
Beall also spoke with Chase’s neighbor who had ordered the barn built on his own property.
The neighbor said he and other neighbors had had previous encounters with Chase confronting them, either by pointing a small black pistol at them, hitting the vehicles they drove or threatening to throw rocks at their vehicles, the affidavit says.
Chase had never pointed a weapon at him, the neighbor added, but had “hit” the tractor he drove while filling in potholes on Gothberg Road.
The affidavit doesn’t relate how Chase allegedly “hit” the tractor, whether with a vehicle, rock, hand or other object.
Matula told deputies that his foreman was on the job site a few days prior and reported aggressive behavior from Chase. The foreman had told his employer that Chase pulled a small black pistol, but never pointed it at him, says the affidavit.
While Beall was still talking with the barn builders at their job site, he watched Chase walk on a nearby hillside to their west with his German shepherd dog, and toward Chase’s home.
Beall remembered responding to a similar incident in which chase had allegedly pointed a pistol at a neighbor for doing dirt work on the road, the affidavit says.
The affidavit continues, saying that “Beall also saw Chase had multiple law enforcement contacts and involvements where he is accused of pointing a pistol at persons.”
Deputies approached chase at home that same morning, Oct. 10, while he ran a lawnmower along his fence. They got him to turn off the lawnmower and read him his Miranda warning, says the affidavit.
“Chase was very erratic with his conversation, but said he’s not diagnosed with any mental disabilities or psychological problems,” the document says.
Chase denied owning a pistol, though he said he owns rifles, and he denied having held anyone at gunpoint that morning, the affidavit adds.
He reportedly agreed to let deputies check his home for the pistol.
Deputies couldn’t find the pistol Whalen had described.
Chase “would show deputies multiple things that did not pertain to their investigation,” says the affidavit.
After several minutes, Chase took deputies to his room where they found a wooden gun cabinet containing several rifles, and they saw a zippered pistol case that was opened, but empty.
The gun cabinet contained boxes of .45-caliber handgun ammunition, the affidavit claims.
By 8:49 a.m., a little more than an hour after the call came in that morning, Beall arrested Chase on suspicion of aggravated assault and took Chase to Beall’s patrol truck.
Chase tried to pull away from deputies and refused to stand, says the affidavit.
The document says deputies helped him into the truck. When they tried to seat him in the caged area of Beall’s truck, Chase pushed against the deputies and refused to sit in the truck.
Beall lifted Chase and put him into the truck.
During this hoisting, Chase hit his forehead on the cage frame. But the cage frame was wrapped with a large foam noodle, and Chase did not appear hurt, says the affidavit.
Charged Oct. 11 in Casper Circuit Court, Chase’s case ascended to the felony-level Natrona County District Court on Oct. 17.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.