By Marcus Huff
Staff Writer 

Officer-involved shooting results in attempted murder charges for suspect


September 14, 2017

WORLAND – One charge of attempted second-degree murder and one charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon have been filed in Fifth Judicial District Circuit Court in the case of the State of Wyoming versus Joel Jaime Moreno, from an altercation on June 25, which resulted in Moreno being shot by a Worland police officer after attacking two officers with a baseball bat, knocking one unconscious.

According to a report filed by Special Agent Darrell Steward with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, at approximately 11 p.m. on June 25, Worland Police Officers Chance Maddock and Celia Easton, along with Washakie County Deputy Sheriff Colleen McClain, responded to a disturbance call on in the 400 block of Obie Sue Avenue.

Neighbors had reported that Joel Moreno, staying at the 409 Obie Sue residence of his father, Joel Moreno Sr., had been ranting about “satellites” and acting strangely, refusing to leave their property.

Arriving at the Moreno home, Officers Maddock and Easton and Deputy McClain interviewed Moreno Sr., and daughter Marisol in the front yard. According to the report, the younger Moreno had been in an earlier argument with his father and sister, convinced that he was being followed by drones and government agents, and had threatened his father with a baseball bat.

The Morenos warned the officers that Joel Moreno was armed with a bat, and he had given the officers the finger from the window as they arrived. The Morenos also expressed that they didn’t want to go back in the house.

Based on the investigation of Agent Steward and body camera footage from Officers Maddock and Easton, upon entering the darkened residence with tasers and flashlights drawn, the three officers immediately encountered Moreno, who emerged from the kitchen and allegedly hit Officer Easton in the left side of the head with a baseball bat, knocking her unconscious.

Video footage from Officer Easton’s body camera showed her taser deploy as she fell, then footage of the ceiling as the officer laid on the floor, not moving.

Moreno then allegedly engaged Officer Maddock with the baseball bat, striking the officer in the arm and head, before Officer Maddock fired a single shot from his service pistol, striking Moreno in the abdomen, and rupturing his colon.

While Moreno was still swinging the bat, Officer Maddock backed into the living room and tried to chamber another round, but his pistol jammed. Officer Maddock then tackled Moreno to the floor and subdued him while Deputy McClain handcuffed the suspect.

Officer Easton soon regained consciousness, but stated that she did not know where she was.

Both officers were immediately transferred to Washakie County Medical Center for observation, and were interviewed at 3:40 a.m. by Agent Steward. Both officers were placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

Moreno has been receiving medical attention in Montana, and will face warrants for the charges filed against him when his health is suitable for incarceration.

If convicted, Moreno faces not less than 20 years to life for attempted murder, and no less than 10 years for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and fines of up to $20,000 or both.


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