Officials: Recent violent crime incidents not part of larger trend

·3 min read

Sep. 17—CHEYENNE — Despite several recent incidents of violent crime, local law enforcement leaders say they likely don't indicate a larger trend of violence in Laramie County.

Within a few days of Labor Day, two stabbings and a deadly shooting took place within the county. Each incident culminated with an arrest of a suspect within about 24 hours, according to news releases or Facebook posts from the Cheyenne Police Department and Laramie County Sheriff's Office.

"They appear to be isolated cases, and we do not consider them to be evidence of a larger uptick in violent crime here," Capt. Kevin James, undersheriff with the sheriff's office, told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on Thursday.

Cheyenne Police Chief Mark Francisco agreed in a separate Thursday interview. Both officials remarked that the circumstances of each case were very different.

"The only thing that really is similar is just the time in which they're occurring, which makes it seem like there's an increase, but that's not really the case," James said. The undersheriff said that, based on analysis of crime data so far in 2022, violent crime numbers in the county were "on track to be similar to" numbers seen over the past few years.

Both James and Francisco pointed out that, in each case, a suspect had been detained by law enforcement, often thanks to the cooperation of witnesses and residents in general.

On Tuesday, Sept. 7, Cheyenne police arrested Allen Fenstermacher, 39, for allegedly stabbing a 15-year-old boy during an altercation involving himself, the victim and the victim's father. The boy reportedly had minor injuries.

The day before, police arrested 26-year-old gas station employee Jason Singleton, after he allegedly stabbed a man who'd entered the gas station following a verbal altercation.

Also Monday, the Laramie County Sheriff's Office detained a Colorado man, Rodrigo Vigner Turcios Romero (also known as Yigner Rodrigo Turcios Romero), after a man was allegedly shot to death in a Pine Bluffs garage. Turcios Romero was charged three days later in Laramie County Circuit Court with first-degree murder in the shooting death.

"We traditionally don't have high levels of violent crime here, so I think our residents, you know, they're not desensitized," James said. "I think it's reasonable for (residents) to wonder if this is some sort of large increase going on here. But I can tell you that, so far, that's not been the case."

Analyses of crime data within both the city and county, done earlier this year by the WTE, showed that despite an increase in property crime in recent years, crimes against people had not seen such an increase.

Francisco said that late summer doesn't seem to consistently be a time when more violent incidents occur. For example, when it comes to aggravated assaults — which can include nonfatal stabbings — incidents this year and last year seem to be spread out across the months.

The police chief also said he'd reassure people that the recent incidents to which CPD responded hadn't been "random."

"There was a motive behind the attacks," Francisco said of the stabbings. "So, certainly, your average person that is going about their business in the city is more than likely not going to be subject to one of these attacks, because (the attacks) were focused on a particular victim for a particular reason."

Hannah Black is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle's criminal justice reporter. She can be reached at hblack@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3128. Follow her on Twitter at @hannahcblack.