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Footage of June 6 shooting released

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Dylan Farrell with the Casper Star-Tribune, via the Wyoming News Exchange

CASPER — The Casper Police Department has released bodycam footage of the fatal June 6 encounter between three police officers and Army veteran Trae Spurlock.

The incident left Spurlock dead in his home at The Ridge at Blackmore Apartments.

The video shows a tense confrontation between the officers and Spurlock, who was seated on his balcony with a rifle when officers arrived at the scene.

The officers were responding to a domestic disturbance call, according to a previous release from the Casper Police Department. After they arrived at his apartment, Spurlock got up from his seat on the unit’s balcony and opened the sliding door to the living room. He didn’t enter the building and remained outside the doorway close to his rifle.

Officers in the video repeatedly asked Spurlock to enter the home and move away from his rifle so they could “finish the conversation,” but Spurlock declined to enter.

At one point, Spurlock told the officers “I’m not f****ng going to jail tonight. I hope you know that.”

When officers asked for Spurlock to elaborate, he said “I’m just letting you know, I’m not going to jail tonight. That’s why that [expletive] rifle is there,” gesturing to his firearm.

“I’ve been in plenty of [expletive] firefights in my life ... I’m not afraid of another one,” he told officers.

Partway through the encounter, one of the officers on scene confirmed with Spurlock’s girlfriend — who initially contacted police — that the firearm was real. She said it was.

After a few more minutes of conversation, officers talked Spurlock into walking further inside.

The confrontation then turned violent. Spurlock was inside the sliding door but still close to it, with the door half closed behind him. Officers asked Spurlock if he had repeatedly pushed the victim multiple times until she had left the home, to which he responded “I 100% did.”

“It’s not a huge deal ... but it is technically domestic assault,” the officer conversing with Spurlock said.

“Which I understand,” Spurlock replied.

“So, you understand that we have to do our jobs,” the officer asked.

Spurlock again indicated that he understood, according to the video.

Once he clarified that the officers intended to take him into custody, the conversation shut down. Officers instructed Spurlock to turn around and put his hands behind his back. He refused, pushed the balcony door open further and quickly moved back out onto the balcony where his rifle was.

One officer tased Spurlock, and after he appeared to have fallen down, multiple gunshots — as indicated by sounds and visible muzzle flash — can be heard in the video.

Bodycam footage does not show whether Spurlock was still mobile after he was tased and before the shots were fired.

The case was referred to the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation.

Police chief’s statement

In a video statement released alongside the bodycam footage on the Casper Police Department’s Facebook page, Police Chief Keith McPheeters acknowledged the department wouldn’t normally release footage before the DCI completed its investigation. The department said it felt the release was necessary “so that our citizens may have a better understanding of the events leading up to the officer-involved shooting” because the Natrona County Coroner’s office unintentionally released preliminary findings.

“Preliminary information absent the proper context tended to cause conjecture and the spreading of misinformation,” McPheeters added.

McPheeters also emphasized that he conferred with the Natrona County District Attorney’s office and the DCI to ensure it wouldn’t affect the DCI’s ongoing investigation.

McPheeters said the department also informed Spurlock’s family members that the footage would be released to avoid surprising them.

This story was published on June 19, 2024.

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