Man killed, trooper wounded in shootout near Lander

Clair McFarland, Riverton Ranger photo A Wyoming Highway Patrol vehicle blocks access to Sinks Canyon Road near Lander on Friday as officials investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting. According to official reports, a man was killed and a trooper was injured in an exchange of gunfire that occurred after a traffic stop.

RIVERTON — An exchange of gunfire Friday afternoon during a traffic stop left the driver of the stopped vehicle mortally shot and a Highway Patrol trooper wounded.

The injured trooper was released from the hospital on Saturday and is expected to make a full recovery.

At around 3:26 p.m. Friday near the intersection of Sinks Canyon Road and Goodrich Drive near Lander, the trooper conducted a traffic stop, according to statement from the agency.

“Moments into the stop, the trooper and suspect exchanged gunfire,” the statement reads.

“The trooper was injured, and the suspect is deceased.”  

When a reporter arrived on scene at roughly 4 p.m., both the officer and the other man were no longer at the scene. Law enforcement personnel from several agencies were  investigating. 

Witnesses in the area said both men had been transported from the scene for hospital treatment, presumably both alive at the time.  

“The details of the investigation are still emerging,” noted WHP, adding that the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation will be conducting the investigation as the standard operating procedure for all WHP officer-involved shootings.  

DCI also investigates officer-involved shootings within other law enforcement organizations in the state.  

For several hours near a roadside home near the Goodrich intersection, personnel from the Lander Police Department, Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, WHP, and DCI remained on scene. 

The Riverton Police Department also responded to the shooting. Adjacent law enforcement departments usually assist their fellow agencies when an officer is involved in a shooting.

The Sinks Canyon Road and Goodrich entrances were blocked, either with signs, patrol vehicles or both. 

Agents photographed the area and set up multiple canopies over the ground, during intermittent rain that afternoon.  

Unofficial sources indicated that the trooper’s injury is serious but nonfatal. 

"I am concerned about the health of the officer, and I hope he gets better soon," said Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun. "As far as the specific facts of the case, I'm not able to comment, but I will at a later time." 

As the county's elected prosecutor, LeBrun reviews DCI investigations into officer-involved shootings to determine whether they were justified. 

Fremont County acting coroner Erin Ivie confirmed that a fatality had occurred but declined to release the individual’s name or age. 

“We are working in conjunction with DCI,” she said, adding that Dr. Randall Frost, the county’s forensic pathologist, will be performing the autopsy.  

The WHP had not identified the trooper before Ranger press time Saturday night.

This officer-involved shooting is the fourth in Fremont County since January 2019. The previous three all occurred within the Riverton city limits.