Wildfire investigators provide description of fire suspect

JACKSON — Investigators say they’re looking for a white male between 40 and 50 years old who they believe started a devastating wildfire in Wyoming.

They say he’s between 5 feet, 10 inches and 6 feet tall and weighs 185 to 200 pounds.

The Roosevelt Fire destroyed 55 homes as it burned 96 square miles in western Wyoming last September and October. Authorities believe a man started the blaze by failing to extinguish a warming fire.

They say the suspect had brown hair and a short beard and carried a hunting rifle and compound bow on a backpack. Anyone with information that might help investigators may call the U.S. Forest Service at 208-557-5852.

Wolf killing prompts call for pulling permit

JACKSON — Animal rights attorneys upset that a wolf was poached in Grand Teton National Park are arguing that a Kelly hunting outfitter’s permit to guide clients should be revoked.

Humane Society of the United States Managing Attorney Leana Stormont formally requested in a May 9 letter to the Wyoming State Board of Outfitters and Professional Guides that Gros Ventre Wilderness Outfitters owner Brian Taylor lose his license.

“First, by illegally killing a wolf in a protected national park, Taylor demonstrated a glaring inability to accurately determine his location and consequently the ownership of the land area in which he and his wife were hunting,” Stormont wrote in the letter. “Further, it is worth noting that when park rangers were interviewing Taylor, he admitted he was not even aware that it was unlawful to retrieve the illegally killed wolf by dragging the animal’s body through the national park.

“Such woeful ignorance of the law,” she wrote, “makes it impossible for Taylor, as a licensed outfitter, to uphold the law for himself and for the nonresident hunters who hire him as an outfitter.”

Taylor, who could not be reached for this story, is also a board member on the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association, an advocacy group.

Chase suspect faces more felony charges

CHEYENNE — The Casper man accused of shooting at police officers during a high-speed chase in Cheyenne earlier this month now faces attempted murder charges.

Dominique Childers is facing two counts of attempted first-degree murder after the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office amended his aggravated assault charges Friday. Prosecutors also added two more counts of felony property destruction.

Childers is now facing two counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of felony theft related to a stolen car and four counts of felony property destruction in relation to damage done to Cheyenne Police Department and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center property. He’s also facing misdemeanor charges related to eluding and reckless endangering for driving at excessive speed in Cheyenne while discharging a firearm.

Childers was arrested May 3 after leading the Cheyenne Police Department officers and Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers on a high-speed chase that went through downtown Cheyenne.

He was allegedly driving a stolen 2016 Toyota Camry that reached a maximum speed of 115 mph while trying to avoid being pulled over on the interstate.

Childers drove through downtown Cheyenne at speeds close to 65 mph, according to police reports.

Childers reportedly fired at a trooper several times and shot at a police officer, who returned fire, striking Childers twice. No officers were injured, but the defendant was hospitalized for his injuries.

According to court records, about 4.6 grams of methamphetamine was found on Childers, who also had an outstanding felony arrest warrant from Sterling, Colorado. His passenger, Chasity Jacobs, had a warrant for her arrest from Natrona County.

Rawlins student killed in crash

RAWLINS — An 18-year-old Rawlins High School student died in a Saturday night crash in Carbon County that left four others injured.

Around 11:40 p.m., Cody Scott lost control of his vehicle after cresting a hill on Ferris Crossing Road, according to a crash summary from the Wyoming Department of Transportation. The Kia went into a skid and off the road, rolling multiple times.

Scott and a passenger were completely ejected from the vehicle, the summary said, adding that none of the people in the Kia were wearing seat belts.

All five occupants were taken to Memorial Hospital of Carbon County for treatment, where Scott died from his injuries.

The state crash summary says speed is being investigated as a possible contributing factor to the crash.

Man pleads not guilty in mom’s death

CASPER— A Wyoming man accused of breaking into his parents’ home and fatally shooting his mother when she confronted him in the living room has pleaded not guilty.

Andrew Steplock, 27, entered pleas Wednesday of not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental illness to four charges, including murder.

Police responded to an alarm south of downtown Casper on Feb. 26 and found 58-year-old Deborah Steplock with a gunshot wound to the head. Her husband was performing first aid, and she was declared brain dead at a hospital.

Deborah Steplock was kept on life support until Feb. 28 to arrange the donation of her organs, which had been her living wish.

Detectives say the son told them he broke into the home to steal from his parents.

Airport gets $9M for firefighting facility

CASPER — The Casper airport will get U.S. government funding to renovate a facility for training firefighters to respond to burning aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires commercial airports to have aircraft rescue and firefighting personnel. They need training each year.

Only a handful of airports in the region including Casper Natrona County International Airport have facilities to train firefighters for aircraft fires.

The airport will get an almost $9 million federal grant to renovate its facility, which opened in 1995.

Airport Director Glenn Januska says firefighters prefer to train at the Casper facility because it uses diesel fuel for fire scenarios, which is more realistic than other fuels.

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