A 39-year-old woman who allegedly threatened Campbell County Sheriff’s deputies with a knife was shot and killed after leading deputies on a high-speed chase late Wednesday.

The black Chevy Avalanche the woman was driving was reported trespassing by Dry Fork mine at about 11:30 p.m., said Frosty Williams, operations supervisor for the Gillette office of the state Division of Criminal Investigation. Sheriff’s deputies contacted the vehicle, which tried to flee from law enforcement.

Deputies used spike strips to deflate the tires on the Avalanche and bring the vehicle to a stop on Garner Lake Road near Vaquero Drive, east of Gillette, he said. At some point, the woman got out of the vehicle brandishing a knife.

“She was threatening the officers who were there,” Williams said.

She was verbally commanded by deputies to drop the knife and did not, said Campbell County Attorney Ron Wirthwein, whose office is investigating the shooting with the Division of Criminal Investigation. At that point, “less lethal means” of subduing the suspect were attempted, including shooting her with a Taser.

“It certainly didn’t stop the suspect,” Wirthwein said of what effect the Taser had.

The investigation is in its early stages, both Williams and Wirthwein said, and it will include an autopsy on the woman scheduled for later Thursday. The results of the autopsy, including toxicology to determine if and what kind of drugs may have been in the woman’s system, may not be known for about four to six weeks.

Officials are also “in the process of interviewing employees (at the mine) and other witnesses and people who work at the mine,” Williams said.

The woman’s identity is being withheld until the Campbell County Coroner’s Office can notify her next of kin.

The woman was alone in the Avalanche, Williams said, and there are no other suspects.

Williams and Wirthwein also declined to say how many deputies were involved in the shooting. Any that were involved have been put on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation, which is standard policy, they said.

The investigation also will include examination of audio and video of the altercation taken by the dashboard cameras in the deputies’ vehicles and from their body cams, Wirthwein said.

(7) comments

nashest

I see the trend is catching on with law enforcement in Campbell county..
BM;)

BKO

I pretty sure they could of handled it a little better then that know one will ever know the truth it will be covered up to make them look good and the news record will help them with that

justmyopinion

I don't believe that our local law enforcement officers are catching on to any "trend". That comment is an ignorant "cheap shot" at the men and women who have the task of upholding the law. Any individual who is trespassing on private property, then leads police on a high speed chase, followed by brandishing a knife, ignoring verbal commands, and then continued to threaten, even after being "tased" is a danger to everyone in our community. It's pretty simple... obey the law and you won't get mixed up in these types of situations.

TAP

People act irrationally for many reasons: mental illness, chemical imbalance, emotional stress, financial crisis etc. How they express and carry out their burden is not always predictable or rational and may change with confrontation.

I do not know the facts that prompted the officers to use deadly force and hold no judgement without the facts. However, it appears that enough law enforcement was involved to have some options less than lethal, especially if this happened where the general public was not in danger.

I would encourage everyone to love people at their worst, it's at that point they need it the most. My condolences to everyone involved; officers, families and mostly the deceased. Lets not forget; it's "Protect and serve". In this case "protect" should be inclusive.

mgraskin

I don't understand law enforcement because I am a plain ole white collar stiff (though I did do a tour in the Marine Corps). However, I do believe they have it rough. Having to deal with the filth of society who don't follow any rules and are always the victim, where cops have to follow strict rules and are always on camera, both officially and unofficially. I am pro-cops overall.

However, why don't the cops just shoot out a knee cap instead of torso/head shots? I mean if it were me and somebody was coming at me with a knife, I'd train to hit the legs. I'd drop to one knee and fire off 2 or 3 rounds in that area. I'd practice doing this at open ranges. This woman may have emotional issues and is not inherently bad. Walking with a limp is better than dead, no?

Then again, maybe it is better to just kill people to avoid being sued?

TAP

Could someone post or let it be known where the final police report is. I have a personal interest in this event and would like to know more than I have found. Thanks

TAP

I'm curious if police have toxicology tests after these incidents or if they just get paid leave or desk duty. After all, it was the police who committed the lethal response. If this was their daughter would they have approved of such an action?

To mention the victim in the same phrase as, "waiting for toxicology reports' is an indictment by association to the victim. Where is the mention of waiting for toxicology reports on the police involved? The police, like it or not, are known to have the same issues as the general public when it comes to; alcohol and drug abuse, emotional outrage and yes, even poor judgement.

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