Wyoming news briefs for March 23


Man killed in police shooting identified

GILLETTE — Daren Lee Henle, a 57-year-old Gillette man, has been identified as the suspect killed in a police shooting in Gillette Monday afternoon.

Campbell County Coroner Paul Wallem said Tuesday afternoon that Henle died of multiple gunshot wounds to the torso, but would not clarify how many, citing the ongoing Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation review of the incident.

Henle was pronounced dead at the Campbell County Memorial Hospital emergency room a few minutes after 4 p.m.

The incident began around 3:24 p.m. Monday afternoon when officers responded to the 500 block of East Lincoln Street for the report of a man, since identified as Henle, shooting a handgun in the street.

When officers arrived, they saw the man with the gun. He refused multiple requests to drop the gun, according to a press release from the City of Gillette.

Officers tried subduing him with a taser but were unsuccessful. They kept asking him to drop the weapon, but he pointed it at them — at which point “at least one” officer fired and hit the suspect, the press release said.

Life saving measures were performed, and he was taken to Campbell County Memorial Hospital, where he died.

Wyoming DCI is reviewing the incident and the Gillette Police Department said no more information will be released until the DCI investigation is finished, including how many officers were involved in the shooting.

The involved officers, who have not been identified, were placed on paid administrative leave.


Woman pleads not guilty in car crash that killed teen boy

CHEYENNE  A woman charged in the death of a local teenager pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide Tuesday in Laramie County Circuit Court. 

Kelly Lynn Gaskins, 39, allegedly hit and killed 13-year-old Makaili James Evans with her vehicle while he was in a crosswalk. Court documents describe Gaskins as driving her vehicle in a “criminally negligent manner.” 

Vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor in Laramie County. It carries a maximum penalty of one year in the county jail and/or a $2,000 fine. 

While Gaskins pleaded not guilty, her attorney, Douglas Cohen, told the court Tuesday that he did not expect the case to go to trial.

Gaskins does not have a criminal history. She has some minor traffic infractions, Cohen said. 

Evans died Nov. 5 after Gaskins allegedly struck him with her vehicle near McCormick Junior High School, according to a probable cause affidavit signed by a Cheyenne police officer.

Evans had been legally crossing Western Hills Boulevard at a marked, lighted crosswalk coated in white reflective paint, documents say. Three vehicles driving westbound on the street were stopped for the teen and waiting for him to cross. 

Gaskins said she had not seen Evans as he was crossing the street, as it was dark, and she was looking at and talking to her passenger at the time of the collision, the affidavit said. 

A toxicology report returned in mid-December showed Gaskins had benzodiazepines in her system. She told officers on the day of the collision that she took the medication daily, the affidavit said. The report showed Gaskins did not have any other substances in her system at the time of the crash.


Mild earthquake shakes area near Saratoga

SARATOGA — People in the Saratoga area may have felt the earth move a little in the early morning hours Saturday. 

About 7 minutes before 4 a.m., a magnitude 3.8 earthquake was recorded southeast of the Carbon County town 3.2 miles west-northwest of Ryan Park, according to the Wyoming Geological Survey. 

While no damage has been reported, the tremor was definitely felt in and around the area. The state Geological Survey reports that since the quake, 22 people have reported feeling the ground shake. 

The earthquake happened at a depth of 10.1 kilometers, while the intensity at magnitude 3.8 registers as a IV and on the lower end of the scale, the agency reports. At that level, shaking is considered light and doesn’t cause damage. 

While feeling the ground shake so far above sea level isn’t usual, it’s also not unprecedented, said Seth Wittke, a geologist with the Wyoming Geological Survey office in Laramie. 

“In the last 30 or 40 years, there have been about a dozen earthquakes around the Saratoga Valley,” said Wittke.

Most of those quakes have been in the 3.0 to 3.5 magnitude range, he said. 

“Based on historic records, it’s not out of the ordinary, but it doesn’t happen very often,” he said. 

Anyone concerned it’s a warning a more damaging earthquake may be on the way can relax, Wittke said. While never a sure thing, it’s unlikely a major event is on the horizon for the area. 

“There’s nothing (around the area) like California’s kind of faults,” he said. “There are faults, but nothing noted as high-hazard.” 


2 accused of carrying 8 pounds of meth, 1,000 fentanyl pills

GILLETTE — About 8 pounds of meth and more than 1,000 suspected fentanyl pills were confiscated when two people were pulled over for speeding on Highway 59 earlier this month.

Rondell Yokenya Baker, 30, of Bakersfield, California, and Amelia Raymonique Adams, 24, of Las Vegas, Nevada, were bound over to District Court March 11 after Circuit Judge Paul Phillips found probable cause to suspect them of three counts of possession with intent to deliver involving cocaine, meth and fentanyl, as well as three counts of possession involving three drugs.

Also found in the car were about 2.3 ounces of cocaine, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

They were pulled over at about 10:30 p.m. when a sheriff’s deputy clocked them going 57 mph in a 45 mph zone. A drug dog indicated drugs were inside the vehicle.

The drugs — all in vacuum sealed food saver bags — were found in backpacks in the rear of the vehicle.

Louey Williams with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation said the amount of drugs found was significant. The street price of meth in Gillette when divided in smaller sale amounts would put the meth at about $50,000 a pound and the fentanyl at about a total of $27,000, he said.

Possession with intent to deliver carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The maximum penalty of possession is seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Baker is scheduled for his arraignment in District Court on March 30 and Adams on March 31. Both remain in the Campbell County jail.