By Shane Sanderson
Via Wyoming News Exchange
CASPER — A Casper police officer wounded in a May 6 shootout is now breathing unassisted and can nod and shake his head in response to yes or no questions.
Jacob Carlson, a three-year veteran of the force, was shot five times in a gunfight with David P. Wolosin, 38, of Casper, in a dirt lot near Fairdale Park. Two of the bullets were at least partly stopped by Carlson’s bulletproof vest. He was also struck twice in the legs and once in the lower waist.
Another police officer involved in the gunfight, Randi Garrett, was not injured. Police shot and killed Wolosin during the incident.
Although Carlson’s medical condition has continued to improve since the gunfight, Chief Keith McPheeters said Monday afternoon that the officer remains in critical condition.
A statement by the Carlson family released through the Casper Police Department’s Facebook page thanked the community and asked for privacy.
“I just want to extend my greatest gratitude towards my family, Jacob’s family, my law enforcement family, and to all of those who have reached out during this difficult time. I am overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received,” the post reads. “I want to extend my greatest gratitude for all of the love and support we have received. But I also ask that the questions and details not be asked during this difficult time as my husband is currently fighting for his life.”
The statement, which was posted Monday afternoon, was attributed to the “family of Officer Jacob Carlson.”
When Carlson was hospitalized May 6, he had suffered severe blood loss. The bullet that entered in his lower waist had damaged an artery. The policeman underwent multiple life-saving operations that day, McPheeters said.
McPheeters said he wanted to protect the officer’s privacy and spoke generally about Carlson’s medical condition, but added surgeons had performed two more surgeries that the chief described as “critical.”
On Wednesday, Garrett released a statement to the Star-Tribune through her attorney.
“I want to thank the community for the outpouring of support,” Garrett said. “Please focus your prayers on my friend and fellow officer fighting for his life.”
By Thursday, Carlson had regained consciousness, McPheeters said.
Over the weekend the wounded officer had begun breathing on his own and answering yes or no questions.
The police chief said Monday he was proud of his department and the community’s support of Carlson. The chief said that officers were appreciative of an outpouring of support for Carlson.
“I’m also proud of his family who has been steadfast and strong by his side,” McPheeters said. “They have handled this tragedy in a very exceptional manner.”
Carlson’s family does not want to speak to news outlets, a Casper Police Department spokesman said Friday. Family members were not contacted to comment for this story.
Casper’s United Blood Services reported increased donations last week. Carlson had required more than 100 units of blood and blood products, which required blood be shipped in from out of town. Meanwhile, an online fundraiser for Carlson’s family had raised more than $70,000 by Monday afternoon.
Agencies from across the state had offered to help cover Casper’s 911 calls following the shooting. The Natrona County Sheriff’s Office, the Mills Police Department, Evansville Police Department and Wyoming Highway Patrol assisted in taking calls in the days following the shooting.
McPheeters thanked medical staff for their work. He said Carlson’s improving condition was partly indicated by frustration at being stuck in a hospital bed.
“I’m not a medical professional,” McPheeters said. “But he’s defied some long odds.”