Casper Police Release Video in Fatal July Shooting [VIDEO]
Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters on Monday held a briefing for news media in which he gave a timeline of events which led up to the fatal shooting of a Casper man at a gas station on the morning of July 10.
William T. McCollum, 21, led police on multiple pursuits through Casper and Evansville for about an hour that day before he stopped at the gas station located at CY Avenue and Kit Carson.
An off-duty Natrona County Sheriff's deputy saw McCollum's vehicle at the gas station and notified police. Officer Craig Burns arrived and approached the parked vehicle.
To Burns's left, McCollum exited the convenience store and went to return to his vehicle. Police say McCollum went to draw a gun that had been in his waistband, and that's when Burns fatally shot him.
McPheeters said the incident, as with all officer-involved shootings, was investigated by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and has been submitted to the Natrona County Attorney's Office for review. McPheeters added that the attorney's office found Burns to have acted in accordance with all laws.
McPheeters told news media on Monday that the first call to police regarding McCollum was received shortly before 5:45 a.m. on July 10. The person who called said that McCollum had entered an apartment in the 500 block of Granite Drive and waved a gun around. McCollum then got into a grey Nissan passenger car and took off.
Police encountered the vehicle a few minutes later and gave chase, but McCollum went from Hat Six Road onto I-25. A Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper called off the chase after several minutes.
Roughly 30 minutes later, McCollum's vehicle was again spotted in Evansville. Officers pursued it again, but again the chase had to be called off due to concerns for public safety.
The off-duty Natrona County Sheriff's deputy then found the car at the convenience store at 6:31. Officer Burns arrived a few minutes later.
McPheeters praised Burns's actions that morning, calling his reaction calm and professional. No officers or other people were hurt as a result of the incident.
Without identifying a specific condition or circumstance, McPheeters said that he believes McCollum was dealing with a mental health crisis on the morning he was fatally shot. McPheeters said that a large portion of calls handled by his department stem from mental health issues.
McPheeters implored the community to reach out to a mental health professional if they or someone they know are experiencing such a crisis. He hoped that in doing so, police-involved tragedies stemming from mental health issues could be avoided.
Burns is a five-year veteran of the department. He works as a field training officer, a public information officer and as a member of Patrol Team Three.