Torrington, Wyo. March 2, 2020 (By Denise Heilbrun-Ellis) — On Jan. 31, at 3:47 a.m. Gillette Police Department, EMS providers and firefighters responded to a residence in the 3500 block of Crestline Circle in reference to a shooting, which involved a Torrington man.
According to a press release from the Gillette Police Department Steven B. Peterson, 21, a Torrington High School graduate, who was inside the residence called in the incident. Peterson told officer he shot his friend, 24-year-old Jesse Flores, who was in the living room and needed medical attention. Flores was transported to the ER where he was pronounced dead at 4:31 pm. Peterson and a third man were then transported to the police department where they cooperated with the investigation.
Police detectives and special agents with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation processed the scene at the residence. An autopsy on Wednesday, Feb. 5, confirmed Flores died of a single gunshot which entered his upper right chest.
After interviews the officers learned that all three men had come from Torrington to Gillette to retrieve Peterson’s property form the Crestline Circle address, where he rented a room.
During the evening hours of Jan. 30 and early morning hours leading up to the incident the men were drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. At one point, Peterson and Flores began to argue with one another. The argument escalated, and Flores threatened Peterson. At that time Peterson locked himself in his bedroom and was bracing the door with his hand to prevent Flores’ attempts to force the door open. Peterson also armed himself with a handgun, he told officers. Flores was using a butter knife to try to open the locking mechanism. During a lull in Flores’ efforts to open the door, Peterson heard a sound consistent with the cycling of a slide on a handgun through the closed bedroom door. Flores returned to the bedroom door continuing to try to open it. Shortly, Flores successfully opened the door and Peterson fired one round from his handgun, striking Flores.
According to the witness, the shot woke him up as he was sleeping in another room.
A second semi-automatic handgun was in a chair at the entrance to the hallway to the bedroom and two butter knives were found on the floor, one just inside the bedroom door and the other in the hallway.
Corroborated facts from physical evidence, digital evidence (including video recorded at the time of the shooting) and statements indicate at the time of the shooting, Peterson possessed a reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury or death and that his actions were reasonable. As a result, no charges related to the shooting are being pursued.
“This case is not closed,” according to Lt. Brent R. Wasson, Support Services officer,
“and no further comment will be made, as it is an open case and there is ongoing investigation.”