Gillette, WY – A Gillette police officer who fatally shot a convicted felon during a gun battle two months ago will not face any charges for using deadly force against his attacker (video below).
“The officer was well within his scope of duties and direction of his supervisors,” Crook County Attorney Joseph Baron concluded, according to the Gillette News Record.
The series of events leading up to the officer-involved shooting began at approximately 4:15 p.m. on Nov. 13, 2020, when a woman placed a 911 call to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) to report that 31-year-old Cody William Amman had just “shot up” her boyfriend’s vehicle, according to Baron’s report.
The woman said the incident occurred at a trailer park near the 1500-block of East Second Street, and that Amman had fled the scene in a black and purple car, the Gillette News Record reported.
Gillette Police Department (GPD) officer Jeffery Sanders was out on patrol when the description of the suspect vehicle was issued over the radio, according to County 17.
Officer Sanders then spotted a vehicle matching the description of Amman’s car driving northbound on Butler-Spaeth Road in the area of Hillcrest Elementary School, the Gillette News Record reported.
As he turned around and began following the suspect, he noticed someone had written “ha ha” all over the vehicle, which dispatch confirmed was consistent with the description of Amman’s car, Baron noted in his report.
The lone officer activated his lights and siren as they turned east onto Boxelder Road, the Gillette News Record reported.
Amman pulled his vehicle to an abrupt stop a short while later and immediately jumped out of the car before Officer Sanders had even opened his door fully, Baron said.
The officer then saw the suspect raise his hand and observed what he believed was a muzzle flash, according to the prosecutor.
A passenger who was inside Amman’s vehicle at the time of the shootout told investigators Officer Sanders had ordered Amman to drop his weapon, but that Amman responded “f—k you,” and began shooting, Baron said.
Bodycam footage showed the officer ordering Amman to get back into his vehicle just before the suspect opened fire on him.
Officer Sanders immediately returned fire.
Baron said Officer Sanders “was firing shots at the driver as fast as he could as the driver was shooting at him,” according to the Gillette News Record.
The gunman ducked around the front of the suspect vehicle a moment later, giving the officer a moment to get behind the patrol car.
Amman continued shooting behind him as he ran southeast of the roadway, so Officer Sanders returned fire until he saw the suspect fall to the ground, according to Baron’s report.
The entire incident occurred within just nine seconds, GPD Chief Jim Hloucal told County 17 on Tuesday.
The wounded suspect was transported to Campbell County Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
According to Baron’s report, Amman died of respiratory failure and acute blood loss due to a gunshot wound that entered the left side of his back and exited his upper-left chest and shoulder area, the Gillette News Record reported.
Officer Sanders was not hit by gunfire during the shootout, but his patrol car was hit by two bullets, Baron said.
Much of the incident was captured by his bodycam.
“I find no reason whatsoever to charge the officer with any type of criminal offense based upon the evidence presented to me as the officer’s shooting of Cody Amman was a justified use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer acting within the scope of his duties,” Baron’s report read, according to the Gillette News Record.
Officer Sanders was placed on paid administrative leave after the officer-involved shooting, pending the outcome of the investigation, according to the paper.
The GPD announced on Tuesday that he will soon be returning to full duty, County 17 reported.
Chief Hloucal said Officer Sanders responded exceptionally well during the attack.
“While these (situations) are very infrequent, they’re the ones that unfold the quickest, so that training has to be second nature, so that reaction is instantaneous,” the chief told County 17. “You train frequently for the infrequent, high-risk life encounter.”
According to CCSO Undersheriff Quentin Reynolds, Amman was sentenced to two-and-one-half to six years in prison in 2018 for an aggravated assault offense, the Gillette News Record reported.
During that incident, Amman violently attacked a woman during a confrontation and beat her until she fell unconscious, the Casper Star Tribune reported.
The woman suffered cuts to the top and back of her head and to her forehead, and had bruises and bumps on her head and face, according to the paper.
She also suffered a concussion in the attack, the Casper Star Tribune reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content: