The Gillette Police Department is not pursuing charges related to the shooting death of Jesse Flores.
Flores, 24, was shot Jan. 31 by his friend, 21-year-old Steven Peterson, after an argument at 3509 Crestline Circle, where Peterson had lived, Police Lt. Brent Wasson said in a press release issued Wednesday morning.
Peterson called police, saying that he’d shot his friend. EMS and law enforcement arrived at the home at 3:47 a.m. Flores was taken to the emergency room and pronounced dead at 4:31 a.m.
After investigating, the Police Department believes that Peterson’s actions were reasonable and will not be pursuing charges related to the shooting.
An autopsy Feb. 5 confirmed Flores died from a single gunshot that entered his upper right chest and exited the left side of his middle to upper back.
Flores, Peterson and 20-year-old Dakota Collea had come to Gillette from Torrington a few days earlier to pick up Peterson’s belongings from the Crestline Circle address, where Peterson had rented a room.
The night of Jan. 30 and morning of Jan. 31, they drank alcohol and smoked marijuana, Wasson said. Peterson and Flores began arguing with each other, and the argument escalated. Flores threatened Peterson, and Peterson locked himself in his bedroom, bracing the door to prevent Flores from forcing himself in.
Peterson armed himself with a handgun at this time. Flores tried to manipulate the door’s lock using a butter knife. At one point, Flores took a break from trying to open the door and a sound consistent with the cycling of a slide on a handgun could be heard through the door, Wasson said in the release.
Flores began using the butter knife on the door again and eventually was able to open it. When he did, Peterson fired one shot, hitting Flores. Peterson then called police, saying he’d shot Flores and that his friend needed medical attention.
When police arrived, they found a second handgun in a chair in the living room near the door of the bedroom Peterson had barricaded himself in, Wasson said, adding that the gun was "capable of making the sound" Peterson described hearing.
Both Peterson and the Collea cooperated with the investigation, Wasson said.
Corroborated facts from physical evidence, statements and digital evidence that includes video footage of events that led up to the shooting indicate that when Peterson pulled the trigger, he “possessed a reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury or death” and that “his actions were reasonable,” Wasson said in the release.
Wasson said the department would not release more information at this time.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include information that a second handgun was found at the scene. Lt. Wasson said it was an oversight that the information wasn't included in the initial press release about the shooting.