Review finds deputy was justified in shooting man last summer

Posted 6/8/23

Following a lengthy review, a prosecutor has concluded that a Park County Sheriff’s deputy acted lawfully when he shot and killed a man in rural Powell last summer.

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Review finds deputy was justified in shooting man last summer


Following a lengthy review, a prosecutor has concluded that a Park County Sheriff’s deputy acted lawfully when he shot and killed a man in rural Powell last summer.

“After completing a thorough review of the facts and evidence, I have determined the use of deadly force by Park County Sheriff Lt. Mark Hartman against Jack McGlothlin was justified,” Sweetwater County and Prosecuting Attorney Dan Erramouspe concluded this week.

Erramouspe compiled a four-page summary of the Aug. 30 incident that indicates McGlothlin came at Hartman while pointing a shotgun at the officer. Hartman would have been “rightfully able” to shoot the man at that point, Erramouspe said, but the deputy did not.

The report suggests that the deputy got the shotgun away from McGlothlin, but the man then tried to seize Hartman’s rifle and a second struggle ensued.

At some point in the altercation, “Lt. Hartman recalled telling McGlothlin, ‘Jack, I don’t want to kill you,’” according to the report, but “McGlothlin replied that he [Hartman] was ‘going to have to.’”

The report indicates that the Powell-based deputy ultimately shot McGlothlin twice in the chest with his duty pistol at close range. Hartman called for an ambulance, applied a chest seal and administered CPR, but McGlothlin died at the scene. The Park County resident was 37 years old.

Because he represents the sheriff’s office, Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric referred the review of the incident to a special prosecutor in early February. Erramouspe initially planned to release his report within a matter of days, but he wound up requesting additional information from DCI, which took until May.

Erramouspe submitted his report to Skoric on Tuesday, and Skoric released it to the public on Wednesday.


An attempted arrest

At the time of the incident, authorities had been seeking McGlothlin’s arrest for weeks, on allegations that he trespassed at a Cody day care and scared its staff in June 2022. McGlothlin had later shown up at the Park County Law Enforcement Center wearing pistols on his hips and an American flag as a cape to — wrongly — accuse the facility of abusing children. Cody police explained to McGlothlin that he’d mistaken a safety device for some kind of punishment, but he didn’t accept that explanation and became agitated, saying he would contact the FBI.

Though the warrant was issued on June 16, it wasn’t until Aug. 30 that Hartman spotted McGlothlin driving near the Willwood Dam. The deputy pulled him over and attempted to take him into custody.

However, according to Hartman’s account, McGlothlin said something to the effect of, “You’re not taking me to jail,” shoved the deputy and took off in his vehicle.

Hartman said he pursued the man down a canal road until McGlothlin stopped and got out with a shotgun pointed at the deputy.

What happened next is somewhat unclear from the report, as it summarizes not only a statement that Hartman made to DCI, but also second-hand accounts of what Hartman recounted to two deputies at the scene. It appears that Hartman and McGlothlin fought over the man’s shotgun and then the deputy’s rifle, as both men’s DNA was found on both weapons.

At some point in the struggle, McGlothlin apparently grabbed Hartman’s neck, which was scratched and had traces of McGlothlin’s DNA; the deputy told one colleague that McGlothlin had tried to choke him. Hartman said he drew his pistol while keeping one hand on the rifle.

Even before the traffic stop escalated into a pursuit and altercation — and before Hartman called for help — two other deputies had begun heading to the Willwood area to provide backup. One of those officers, Undersheriff Andy Varian, later explained to DCI that “McGlothlin was known to local law enforcement and was known to have firearms on his person or near him.”


Some details unclear

The report says Hartman spoke to DCI shortly after the incident took place. However, through an attorney, he later declined to speak with the lead investigator, DCI Special Agent Jon Briggs, any further. Erramouspe also noted there was no video footage of the incident, as the sheriff’s department does not currently have any dash or body-mounted cameras.

“Had either of those been present in this incident, questions regarding the specific details of the struggle and the ensuing shots fired may be answered,” Erramouspe wrote. “However, since these tools were not present, and Lt. Hartman did not agree to sit for a more formal interview regarding the incident, this conclusion is based solely on the statements made by Lt. Hartman to other law enforcement on the scene, the scene itself, statements of overheard radio traffic and evidence collected.”

In a Wednesday interview, then-Sheriff Scott Steward said his department researched options for body cameras, but he was “a little gun shy on the maintenance on them and costs.”

Adding body cams was “one of the first things” Steward’s successor and brother, current Sheriff Darrell Steward, said he wanted to implement after taking office in January, according to a department spokesman. Communications Supervisor Monte McClain said Wednesday that the department is currently researching options/brands and how to pay for the new equipment.

Former Sheriff Steward added that, although Hartman didn’t sit down for a follow-up interview with DCI, the lieutenant did speak with sheriff’s department personnel as they conducted an internal investigation of the shooting. In addition to interviewing the deputy, Steward said they conducted a psychological evaluation as part of the internal review and found no reason not to reinstate the deputy.

Hartman, who has served with the office since 2003, returned to work on Sept. 26.