Dead man's brother urges peaceful aftermath
October 3, 2019
RIVERTON — Forgiveness is the key theme of a Sept. 28 letter the brother of the late Anderson Antelope Sr. sent to the editor of The Ranger.
Antelope, 58, was fatally shot in an officer-involved incident Sept. 21 at Walmart in Riverton.
The Riverton Police Department officer involved was not injured.
The incident is being investigated by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, which has not furnished comment.
Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun wrote an official press release on the fatality which stated that an RPD officer was attempting to arrest Antelope at Walmart when Antelope drew an approximately 6-inch knife and stabbed the officer in the chest.
The officer's body armor kept the knife from penetrating, LeBrun wrote.
When Antelope continued to attack with "knife in hand," he was shot, according to LeBrun.
Antelope's brother Steven C. Amos, 48, wrote to The Ranger from within the Fremont County Detention Center in order to express his thoughts about the public response following the death.
"Maybe (I) can help to stem the flow of negativity surrounding this tragic event," Amos wrote. "I've heard a lot of rumors. Yet I believe in my heart and soul that whatever transpired between my brother and said offender is not hate inspired. ... I pray for that officer and his family. I wish him well."
Community members gathered last week near Riverton City Hall to mourn Antelope's death and push for more information about the incident. Attendees carried signs that said "Justice 4 Andy" and encouraged passers by to signify agreement by honking.
In an interview with the Ranger, Riverton Mayor Rich Gard noted that the demonstration appeared peaceable, but that some gatherers had drawn things on the sidewalk in front of City Hall, including the phrases "Police lives don't matter" and "Am I going to be next?"
There also were outlines of bodies drawn in chalk on the ground.
Amos's letter addresses individuals who "want to push racism and hate."
"Where were you when my brother was homeless and hungry?" he asked. "Please don't use my brother's death for a stepping stone to push racist activism. My brother is not that man."
Antelope was likely intoxicated at the time of the shooting, Amos wrote, guessing that Antelope "wishes he could take it back."
"Then again he could be happy," Amos wrote. "He's with my other family, and does not have to suffer what goes on, on earth."
Amos expressed hope that Riverton residents would "come together" over the incident, despite differences in "color, creed, religion (or) race."
"Just come together," he wrote. "We are all human."
He feared that by confronting the response to his brother's death he might cause some of his family and friends to "disown" him
"But oh-well," he wrote. "I'm going to sleep with a clear conscience."
The Northern Arapaho Tribe confirmed that Antelope was Amos's brother by blood. He is incarcerated due to his failure to check in with law enforcement per sex offender registry requirements, having been convicted of a sex offense in 1990.
He was able to attend Antelope's funeral last week, however, through the collaboration of the public defender's office, the Fremont County Attorney's Office, and Fremont County District Court Judge Jason Conder, an opportunity for which Amos extended "a heartfelt thanks."