Crime

A suicidal woman who spurred a police shooting at Vedauwoo in May is being charged with aggravated assault and battery after she pointed a gun at police, who shot her in return.

In a Wednesday letter to the Department of Criminal Investigation, Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent said she would not prosecute the two officers involved in the incident.

Based on an investigative report prepared by DCI, Trent said the “use of potential deadly force by the law enforcement officers in this incident was justifiable.”

Trent told the Laramie Boomerang her review included interviews of witnesses and video footage.

At about 11 p.m. on May 26, Albany County Sheriff’s Deputy Ed Rosier and Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Rick Colling were dispatched after receiving a report of an intoxicated woman — Deborah Hanson — who was driving a pick-up to Vedauwoo and had a gun.

When Colling found Hanson’s pick-up, he initiated a traffic stop.

He approached the driver’s side door and found Hanson holding a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol, who reportedly said “should we do this death by cop.”

According to an affidavit from DCI special agent Len Propps, Colling then drew his gun and told Hanson to “put the gun down.”

While standing on the roadway, Hanson “continued to place the gun to her head, the side of her head, in her mouth, under her chin while standing on the roadway,” Propps says.

After a standoff, Hanson pointed her loaded gun at both officers, who fired their weapons and struck the woman.

Both officers were placed on administrative leave after the shooting.

Despite receiving gunshot wounds to her shoulder, left arm, abdomen and right hand, Hanson lived.

Both officers administered life-saving measures and Hanson was life-flighted to a hospital.

Hanson tested positive for alcohol, THC, amphetamines and benzodiazepines.

When DCI special agent Len Propps later interviewed Hanson, she told him she did not remember anything from the night she was shot. She felt “‘really really bad’ and she knew the police had to do what they needed to do,” according to Propps’s affidavit.

A witness to the shooting confirmed to the Boomerang in the days afterwards that Hanson was “clearly intoxicated” and was shouting that she did not want to live.

Santa Fe resident Taylor Selby was camping in Vedauwoo with his wife and two children the night of the shooting. The family parked their RV in overflow parking at 9 p.m. and was asleep when the commotion started about 11 p.m., Selby said.

“It’s pretty intense,” he said. “It’s just traumatic. It’s just a shock. You think you pull over to a place that’s safe and out of the way — and a fairly kind of touristy place to spend the night, to camp — and all of a sudden there’s a shootout.”

Hanson is being issued a summons for her assault charge.

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