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Coroner Identifies Man In Deadly Evansville Standoff From Weekend

in News/Crime
Photo courtesy: Curtis Forntin
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The man involved in the deadly standoff with police in Evansville over the weekend was identified Monday by the Natrona County coroner.

Blaine Clutter, 29, died in the course of the 18-hour standoff with police over the weekend. His autopsy was scheduled for Monday, according to the county coroner.

According to a statement from the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office, a special response team responded Friday evening to a report of shots fired at a home on Fifth Street on Evansville. Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the incident.

Over the next 18 hours, trained crisis negotiators used various tactics to draw Clutter out of the home he had barricaded himself in.

During this time, there was an exchange of gunfire between Clutter, who was barricaded inside the home, and four Casper Police Department officers.

Around 11 a.m. on Saturday, Clutter was discovered dead inside the home. According to Casper Police Department officials, Clutter’s cause of death has not yet been determined.

The Natrona County Sheriff’s Office is working in coordination with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations to investigate the incident.

“The Natrona County Sheriff’s Office extends its sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased,” officials said Monday.

The Natrona County Sheriff’s Department declined requests for additional comment from Cowboy State Daily, citing the fact the investigation into the incident was ongoing.

A GoFundMe page was launched to raise funds for Clutter’s funeral, with around $1,800 raised as of Monday afternoon.

“We appreciate all of your condolences and words of love through this difficult time,” organizer Olivia Hernandez wrote. “Blaine’s mother is currently encarcerated [sic] and the arrangements for laying him to rest are all up to Anthony. We are organizing this fund to help ease a bit of the anxiety for Junior’s brother. Thank you so much for your help!”

Anthony Pete Hernandez identified himself on social media over the weekend as Clutter’s father and apologized to the law enforcement involved in the standoff over the weekend.

“I want to say sorry to all Law Enforcement Officers for my son actions during that stand off with him on Friday and Saturday,” he wrote on Facebook. “I’m thankful to God he didn’t wound or kill any of you well you all where doing your job. I talked to some very good hearted people in the Natrona County Sheriff Department that feeled [sic] me in on how it when down and ended.

“I’m very grateful you all tried your hardest to have him give his self up and surrender even though he was trying to hurt you all. May God always protect you all sincerely!” Anthony Hernandez continued. “My son’s acting was way wrong no matter what mind set he was in. He was my son I will miss him. People that need help get it please.”

Hernandez did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Monday.

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Man Leads Multiple Wyo Police Departments On Crazy Hour-Long High Speed Chase

in News/Crime
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Gillette man was arrested Sunday after leading officers from multiple Wyoming police departments on a high-speed chase in the middle of the night through parts of Natrona and Converse counties.

Louis Walker was booked into jail Sunday on multiple charges, including eluding police officers, reckless endangerment, possession of a controlled substance and more after leading authorities on a chase reaching speeds of up to 120 mph, according to Evansville Police Chief Mike Thompson.

According to the Evansville Police Department, at around 2:40 a.m. Sunday officers were on a routine patrol when one observed a white Chevy SUV go through a red light without attempting to stop.

The SUV then jumped the curve as it headed eastbound, then went across the barrow ditch and proceeded through a car wash

The car then pulled into the parking lot of the local Comfort Inn and stopped. While officers were giving commands for the car’s occupants to exit the vehicle, a passenger exited on the rear passenger side.

The vehicle’s driver then drove off with two occupants and police began a chase.

The pursuit went east and then south into Casper. There was little to no traffic on the roads, so officers continued the chase as the SUV went on Highway 20/26 and headed east.

As the pursuit neared Glenrock, officers from the Glenrock Police Department deployed tire deflation equipment. The SUV ran over a spike strip and continued east through Glenrock at a high rate of speed.

As the SUV neared Interstate 25 to go east, the driver side front tire came off of the rim. The SUV then got on the interstate heading south in the northbound lane, traveling at speeds of around 90 mph.

Wyoming Highway Patrol and Converse County Sheriff’s officers were notified and requested to assist along with the Douglas Police Department.

Between Glenrock and Douglas, the SUV came to a stop and officers could sparks coming from the wheel without a tire. A man exited the SUV, at which point the vehicle took off again.

The man who got out of the vehicle was detained by one officer as the others continued to pursue the SUV. The man told the officer that there were weapons in the vehicle and that the two occupants “would not go down without a fight.” the Evansville Police Department release said.

As the pursuit neared Douglas, officers again deployed spike strips, which the SUV ran over. It continued south in the northbound lane until it went off the road.

The SUV came to a complete stop after going over some rocks that were on the bank of a drainage ditch. The driver and passenger were then taken into custody.

Officers found a loaded handgun in the vehicle after the driver and occupant were removed at gunpoint from the vehicle.

The driver indicated there were drugs in the car and other information was given about the men using cocaine earlier in the evening at a local establishment.

Two of the men in the car are not allowed to have firearms by law.

The pursuit went for approximately 58 miles and several times reached speeds of 120 mph.

Thompson told Cowboy State Daily on Monday that usually when people run from the police for minor traffic violations, that is a sign that there is a worse crime taking place.

“You shouldn’t run from the police, it’s a huge safety issue for yourself and the vehicle’s occupants,” he said. “As a driver, if anything happens to them, you can be liable. It also leads to significant charges, which can affect people’s lives and livelihoods.”

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Honoring the unclaimed: US Veterans’ remains laid to rest In Evansville

in News/military
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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Evansville — The unclaimed cremated remains of 23 United States soldiers were interred with full military honors at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery in Evansville this week. 

Bagpipes played as members of the Wyoming chapter of the Patriot Guard Riders escorted the soldiers’ remains to the Tom Walsh Chapel, where services were held. Greeting the fallen were members of local military, police and firefighters. Along the entrance to the cemetery, more than a dozen people stood at attention, holding flagpoles. 

The services were organized by Tammy Mansfield, state president of the Wyoming State Society Daughters of 1812, a volunteer women’s serviced group dedicated to promoting patriotism. Also helping to organize the event was the Missing in America Project, a group formed to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American Veterans.

Officials attending the services included Gov. Mark Gordon, state Sen. Jim Anderson, R-Casper, and a representative from the office of U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.

The names of the 23 soldiers being honored were read aloud as the attendees who filled the chapel sat silently. Upon the completion of the reading, and with military precision, a solemn soldier presented a folded American flag to Mansfield. The ceremony ended with the bagpipers playing “Amazing Grace,” followed by a 21-gun salute. 

Following the services, organizers and dignitaries gathered outside to speak with the public.

“For me, this is personal, and it’s especially personal when you see people who we honor this way, who have their remains been unclaimed.” said Gordon.

Gordon praised organizer Mansfield and the Missing in America Project.

“It shows that this country has a love that somebody would have the initiative to say, ‘We need to find out who these people are, and properly honor them,’” he said.

To organize the day’s honors it took “…less than a year, and MIAP kicked in about June.” said Mansfield.

The Patriot Guard Riders is a national group formed to show respect for fallen members of the military by escorting their remains to funeral services. According to Wyoming Patriot Guard Riders’ Sr. Capt. Richard Parks, the riders have escorted remains to 88 services throughout Wyoming this year.

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