Man charged with attempted murder for standoff with police in MarchNov 7, 2017 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer
A Riverton man who directed gunfire at police during a 9-hour standoff this spring has been charged with 16 felonies, including three counts of attempted murder in the second degree.
Randy Pickering has been in custody since police arrested him March 22 after the standoff at his home on Minter Lane. By that time, officials had been trying to bring him in for several years, as there were several warrants for his arrest.
However, knowing he was wanted, Pickering had left the home "very few times" since 2010, according to Fremont County undersheriff Ryan Lee.
The last time police had tried arrested him, in February 2015, Pickering stood behind a barricaded porch and reported told police "this is not going to end pretty."
Gun to the head
Officials determined it was necessary to apprehend Pickering earlier this year after they received reports that he had held a gun to the head of his girlfriend's father. After months of planning, police initiated an operation at his home March 22, hoping to draw Pickering out of the house and then arrest him.
Those plans were thrown into disarray when officials arrived at the property shortly before dawn and discovered Pickering's girlfriend, who they expected to be at work, also was present in the home.
A standoff continued for most of the day, during which Pickering waved his gun around, pointed the firearm at his head, poured gasoline on his porch, and threatened to burn down the structure.
At the time, Pickering was believed to have diminished mental health. He previously had suggested he had booby-trapped his house so that a shotgun would fire at anyone who attempted to walk through the front door.
Eventually, Pickering allowed police to pass him a phone, and negotiations continued into the afternoon. But shortly before 1 p.m., police began to fear that Pickering was further arming himself by breaking into a gun safe in the house's southwest corner bedroom.
So a team of three officers -- including Sgt. Scott Komrs, detective Jacob Nation and officer Scott Christoffersen -- then approached the house "in a tight formation with (a) bullet resistant shield," hoping to deploy "non-lethal gas into the bedroom."
A six-man sniper team also was on location during the standoff.
After Nation broke a window using "a special tool," Pickering opened fire from inside the house. According to Komrs, rounds were believed to be "flying over the team's head."
Over the next three hours, Pickering was heard firing some type of "large caliber weapon" within the house "on at least seven different occasions," according to an affidavit county prosecutor Pat LeBrun filed last week.
During the entire encounter, police did not return fire. The operation ended when Pickering and his girlfriend peacefully left the residence together around 4 p.m.
Pickering has butted heads so far with his public defender, Terry Martin, who has urged him to plead guilty to the original charges against him.
After Judge Norman Young ordered a psychiatric evaluation for Pickering at the Wyoming State Hospital, Pickering wrote a letter to the judge, saying Martin's presumption of mental illness only came because Martin "did not take enough time or have enough patience to let me explain what happened in the incidents that occurred in my case."
"I am very disappointed how he conducts himself when he speaks with such emotions of irritability. You'd think he'd be more professional being a person in his profession," Pickering wrote. "I do not want to discuss my case with Mr. Martin any further. I don't have any ill feelings for him but he can take his irritability attitude elsewhere."
The other charges against Pickering include 13 counts of aggravated assault and battery and one count of interference with a peace officer, a misdemeanor.