CASPER — A Rock Springs man accused of shooting up a local restaurant at lunchtime in September has pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming to felon in possession of a firearm on Tuesday.
James Vickers entered the plea Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Casper, and remains in detention at least through his sentencing hearing, which has been set for March 5. The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm is punishable by up to 15 in years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Vickers was arrested Sept. 9 by Rock Springs police responding to a 911 call from an employee at the Santa Fe Southwest Grille who reported a man shooting up the restaurant.
When police got to him, Vickers was holding a 38-caliber revolver in his left hand and 9 mm pistol in his right, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed with the court.
Urine testing came back positive for methamphetamine use, according to the affidavit.
Vickers was initially charged with five misdemeanors in Sweetwater County. His criminal record showed a previous felony conviction for repeat drunken driving, so the Sweetwater County Attorney’s office handed the case over to the U.S. Attorney for Wyoming where a more severe penalty can be applied.
Vickers’ Story to Police
Vickers went into the restaurant that day, got chips and salsa, then ordered food but did not eat it.
Vickers told police he believed he saw a male, whom he could not describe, walk through the front door with a pistol. Then he watched another male, whom he also could not describe, walk through the side door with a pistol.
Vickers said he took cover and shot at the other armed men he claimed he saw. He fired with the .38 revolver in his left hand and his 9 mm pistol in his right, “firing at yet another male walking in the back of the restaurant,” the affidavit said.
When police arrived at the front door and Vickers heard an officer yell “Police!” he dropped both of guns.
Rock Springs Police Department officers obtained a search warrant for Vickers’ Ford Explorer and searched it after his arrest. They allegedly found several grams of anabolic steroids and about 2.1 grams of suspected marijuana.
Dale Killingbeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.