Wake, 86, dies at end of 6-hour standoff with police

Mike Moore photos
Glenrock Volunteer Fire Department Clint Zimmerly (above, from left) GPD officer Dan Cade holds position behind  the door of his vehicle.

Glenrock Police Department Sgt. Colter Felton (at left) keeps his sights on the house as he walks across the street.

GPD officer Dan Cade listens in for further instruction.

By: 
Mike Moore mike@glenrockind.com

The quiet streets of Glenrock stirred with blaring sirens, flashing emergency lights and boots on the ground March 22 as schools went into lockout amid a tense standoff that ended six hours later with one man dead and a house burned.
At 12:28 p.m., the Glenrock Police Department and Wyoming Highway Patrol responded to a report of an individual brandishing a weapon at a residence. When law enforcement arrived at 146 Fort Laramie in Oregon Trail Estates, they found a silent home, the only sign of life was a silhouette occasionally glancing through a window. Officers attempted to make contact with the man, but heard only silence.
GPD Sgt. Colter Felton positioned himself behind a pedestrian vehicle with an assault rifle pointed at the front door of 86-year-old Leonard Frederick Wake’s home. Officers attempted to draw Wake out, but to no avail.
“We made numerous attempts by knocking on the door, as well as using a bullhorn, shouting,” Felton said the next day. “He didn’t respond to our attempts.”
About an hour into the standoff, Police Chief Tim Hurd attempted to coax Wake to the door by offering him a bottle of water. Wake responded by firing a round through the door.
“The round came through the door and very narrowly missed the Chief and myself,” Felton said, remarking that shot told the GPD Wake had at least one rifle and pistol in his home.
Tension on the street caused nearby neighbors to periodically poke their heads out as the growing number of law enforcement caused a shutdown of the streets. As more and more law enforcement agencies – including SWAT from Casper – arrived, the perimeter around Wake’s home expanded, eventually forming a blockade at both ends of the 100 block of Fort Laramie.
Officers arrived suited up with bullet-proof vests, assault rifles, while others pulled out riot shields and helmets.
GPD officer Dan Cade positioned himself between the door and driver side seat of his SUV with his AR-15 rifle pointed at the home. The street was on lockdown and the ever-growing crowd of spectators was pushed back across Bridgers Crossing as the standoff intensified. The only noise heard was the shuffling of boots between intermittent pleads from police for Wake to surrender.
Due to the close proximity of the home and local schools, Glenrock High School and Glenrock Elementary School entered a lockout, in which no students were allowed to leave the building, but students remained in classes. Glenrock Intermediate/Middle School was placed on high alert.
“Because we were so close to two of the schools and the possibility of students living in those neighborhoods, we opted to place them on lockout,” Felton said.
Glenrock High School student and Wake’s nearby neighbor Cole Thornock said around 2:30 p.m. an announcement was sent out through the school that they were in a lockout, but parents could pick students up.
“I think this is a huge thing to happen for us, so everyone’s talking about it. It’s going through Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook,” he said. At the scene, bystanders filmed the standoff, uploading photos and videos to social media.
While GPD waited for backup to arrive, Wake set fire to his house.
The upper left window of Wake’s home flashed, bursting the window open, sending bits of shattered glass falling to the grass. Smoke began billowing out of the home. As the house burned, heat caused bullets inside to explode, Felton said, making the area unsafe
Glenrock Volunteer Fire Department personnel attempted to douse the flames and had to retreat.
Wake’s next door neighbor Janet Monger returned home from Casper to discover her entire neighborhood filled with law enforcement and spectators watching the scene from yards and on nearby rooftops. As she turned onto the street, she saw the smoke from her neighbor’s house and immediately thought of her 12-year-old golden retriever Sedona, who was still inside her home mere feet away from the blaze.
Numerous requests from Monger to police to let her go get the dog were denied, as getting to her house would put her in Wake’s direct line of fire. As GVFD firefighters attempted to extinguish the flames, Cade approached Monger and escorted her to the front door of her home. As the door swung open, Sedona jumped out of the house and greeted the pair.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND
The fire continued to roar while law enforcement crowded the small neighborhood with police cruisers lining the streets around Oregon Trail Estates.
It wasn’t long until SWAT arrived on scene and suited up on Bridgers Crossing before pulling two SWAT vehicles up to the front of the house. One drove over Wake’s fence in order to be directly in front of the home. The other SWAT vehicle sat on the road as Natrona County Sheriff’s Office deputies began attempts over the loudspeaker urging Wake to come out with his hands up. The attempts were unsuccessful. By the time the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation arrived, the fire was extinguished.
All that remained was police attempting to make contact with Wake. After hours of hearing no reply from inside the house, officers entered the home, where they discovered Wake was deceased.
The cause of Wake’s death is still undetermined and, as of press time, the case is still under investigation with DCI.

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