Converse County Attorney: Deputy Justified In July Shooting Death
A Converse County Sheriff's deputy had no choice in July but to kill a man he believed was armed, according to the county's attorney.
"The use of lethal force was completely justified by the actions of the deceased, Mr. (Robert) Edison," Converse County Attorney Quentin Richardson wrote to Converse County Sheriff Clint Becker in the letter dated Sept. 9.
Early on July 23, Corey Dwyer was patrolling a fishing area near Anderson Dairy Bridge where he saw a truck under the bridge with Nebraska plates and a nearby tent.
He noted the plate number, retreated and asked dispatch to research the plates. They belonged to a truck reported stolen from Cedar City Neb. Dwyer returned to the truck and verified the Vehicle Identification Number matched the stolen vehicle.
Dwyer shined his light on the tent, identified himself as a deputy, and several times ordered the tent's occupant to show his hands, according to Richardson's letter.
The occupant, Edison, put his left hand in the tent and raised his right hand with a black handgun in it.
At that point, Dwyer drew his service weapon and repeatedly ordered Edison to drop his weapon. Edison responded by saying "'no,'" Richardson wrote. "Deputy Dwyer was able to see the man tracking him with the gun and that his finger was on the trigger, at which point Deputy Dwyer fired as he feared for his life."
Dwyer called for backup and medical assistance, began giving medical aid to Edison. He then saw the gun was a CO2 pistol.
Dispatch records show two minutes elapsed from the time Dwyer said he was about to make contact and the call for assistance.
The sheriff placed Dwyer on administrative leave and turned the investigation over to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
Richardson wrote he and the DCI examined the CO2 pistol, which looked nearly identical to a real gun, especially at night.
Edison was wanted on a warrant out of South Dakota that same day. His probation agent said he would have faced six years in prison for a probation violation of felony Driving While Under the Influence. He also had another DWUI charge in South Dakota, plus the felony warrant for the stolen truck.
Edison's mother told DCI her son was "'on the run,'" was an alcoholic, and was "'not going back to prison.'"
Edison had a blood alcohol content of .223 at the time of his death. His four wounds were consistent with pointing the weapon at Dwyer.
"Deputy Dwyer acted as any officer would who was faced by a person who refuses to drop a weapon pointed at an officer," Richardson wrote. "Mr. Edison is responsible for his death, as he chose to point a weapon only he knew was not a lethal weapon at a uniformed officer and refused to drop it when ordered to do so."
Dwyer has returned to active duty, Becker said in a press release.