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Man shot to death in altercation with police on reservation

Jul 30, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Officials say a suspect in a weapons offense was killed Tuesday evening in an officer-involved shooting on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Information about the deceased was not available Wednesday. Fremont County Coroner Ed McAuslan said no identification was found on the body, which will be autopsied at 1 p.m. Thursday in Loveland, Colo.

"At this time the identity is not confirmed," McAuslan said Wednesday. "I don't know who he is. ... They're going to get fingerprints and things like that during the autopsy."

Federal investigation

Federal officials Wednesday said initial results indicate the incident was isolated.

"Public safety does not appear to be at risk," said Dave Joly, media coordinator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation Denver Division.

Local officials say the lethal force was the result of actions by a federal agency and not the Fremont County Sheriff's Office, although deputies were present at the scene.

The Wind River Police Department is a federal agency under the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The incident began at about 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Pavillion area, where initial reports state a man had shot out the window of a vehicle with a nine-millimeter pistol. The man reportedly was still armed and "walking around town," according to the FCSO.

The reporting party referred to the suspect as "brother-in-law" and said that the suspect had "shot out a friend's car window and is now walking by ... still armed."

Local officials said no one was injured as a result of the gunfire in Pavillion.

While responding to the call, a deputy saw the victim vehicle with the missing window traveling on Blue Sky Highway near Ethete. The deputy made contact with the vehicle without incident; reportedly it contained three occupants.

Two of the people were compliant, but reports state the third person was not. Officials said the noncompliant passenger "appears" to have been the suspect in the Pavillion-area weapons offense.

Units with the Wind River Police Department arrived at the scene and assisted with the non-compliant person. During the encounter with law enforcement, the man was fatally shot by an officer with a federal agency, according to the FCSO.

Unofficial reports claimed the officers came under fire, but authorities did not confirm that Wednesday.

Joly said the FBI is in the early stages of its investigation into the incident.

"More information will be released when appropriate," he said.

RELATED STORIES

Oct. 14: No charges to be filed in police shooting

Sept. 17: Information on police shooting will not be shared

Sept. 12: Man killed in police shooting was drunk

Aug. 28: Police shooting -- Pavillion isn't Ferguson, Mo., but the public still needs to know what happened

Aug. 5: Man killed by police identified as Justin Steele

Aug. 1: Autopsy done in shooting death; no ID confirmed yet

July 31: Feds say officer fired intentionally in deadly incident on reservation