CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Northern Arapaho Tribe called on federal authorities Tuesday to file hate crime charges against a Wyoming man following the fatal shooting of one tribal member and the wounding of another at a detox center.
Riverton police say the men were attacked Saturday by city parks worker Roy Clyde, who told investigators he shot the victims as they were lying in bed at the Center of Hope because he was incensed by homeless people drinking and relieving themselves in local parks.
The shooting followed an unsolved 2013 attack in which a Northern Arapaho woman was shot and wounded in Riverton.
“The trend of violence against Indian people in and around Riverton is alarming,” Dean Goggles, chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, said in a prepared statement. “It’s our responsibility as tribal leaders to do everything we can to try and stop these crimes of hate.”
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Clyde, 32, has been charged with murder and attempted murder. He is not yet represented by a lawyer.
Authorities said Stallone Trosper, 29, died at the center, and James “Sonny” Goggles remained in serious condition at a Casper hospital. He is a cousin of Dean Goggles.
Riverton, a town of about 11,000 people, is surrounded by the Wind River Indian Reservation, home to the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes.
The victims “are members of our tribe, they are human beings and they matter to us,” Norman Willow, a member of the business council, said in a statement. “We are sickened by what happened here.”
Tribal leaders intend to travel to Washington, D.C., next week to meet with federal officials on the matter.
John R. Powell, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Cheyenne, said, “Our office is aware of the shooting incident in Riverton and we remain in contact with local agencies regarding the investigation.”
Riverton Mayor John “Lars” Baker said the shooting was a tragedy that left city residents puzzled and sad.
“If the Department of Justice feels that they have to prosecute that as a hate crime, I don’t think they’ll find an awful lot of opposition,” Baker said, noting that city officials emphasize racial sensitivity.
Baker said problems with homelessness and public drinking in Riverton have eased in recent years, since the detox center opened and has been operated with city support. He said the center has helped scores of people by sending them for long-term treatment.
Riverton City Administrator Steven Weaver said Clyde has worked for the parks department full-time since 2009.
Clyde told investigators that he targeted the detox facility because he was tired of cleaning up after homeless people, police Capt. Eric Murphy said.
Clyde said he had long been considering killing people he called “park rangers,” a term used locally to describe homeless alcoholics, according to a police investigator’s statement.