Last week, the Fremont County Prosecutor Patrick LeBrun released his report on the September 21st, 2019, Officer-Involved shooting that occured outside the Riverton Walmart. That shooting claimed the life of Anderson Antelope Sr. The Prosecutor’s report concluded that no charges would be brought against the Riverton Police Department Officer because the Officer was defending bystanders and his own life.
Today, Thursday, December 5th, Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen has issued a statement responding to LeBrun’s report.
Shortly after the September shooting, Stratmoen shared there will be a public presentation of the facts of the case, referred to as a Coroner’s Inquest. The inquest involves presenting information to a jury in order to determine facts, such as how the deceased died. It is not a judicial proceeding and does not determine whether charges will or should be brought against any individual. Stratmoen has stated that it is his Office’s Policy to complete an inquest whenever law enforcement may have caused the fatalty in question.
In LeBrun’s report, he questioned the need for the Coroner’s ongoing investigation into the shooting. He wrote that the Coroner’s inquest “can serve no purpose” since the legal determination about whether charges should be brought against the officer had already been determined. He also questioned the cost to the taxpayer involved in such a proceeding.
In Stratmoen’s release, he details the steps that have been taken toward completing the investigation and convening the inquest. However, he states that multiple factors have led to the inquest being put “on hold indefinitely.”
At the end of the release, Stratmoen states that he is unable to move foward, in part, because his investigation has been obstructed and he is unable to obtain necessary information. Today’s release can be viewed in full here.
“Without cooperation and complete information and witnesses to present to a jury, we cannot adequately and objectively present the case. Therefore, the inquest on this death is suspended and on hold indefinitely. The death will be certified as “undetermined” at this time since we are obstructed from completing the process and close the case. Unfortunately, we have seen plenty of examples in other state and national communities of the results of not having transparency in such tragic incidents, which an inquest was designed to mitigate. I am disappointed that some have forgotten who we are supposed to serve, and the loss of opportunity to answer the public’s questions or concerns in this case.”