By Juliette Rule
Copyright 2006 Cheyenne Newspapers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
CHEYENNE - A man was hurt, though not seriously, after a police officer shot him in the stomach about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The man, Edward Hoffman, was carrying an air pistol that too closely resembled a handgun, police said.
They were called to an east Cheyenne neighborhood just north of Nationway and east of Converse Avenue minutes before the shooting.
They arrived there due to reports of a man wandering the neighborhood, waving a handgun, a news release said.
According to police, Hoffman, 37, was brandishing the gun.
Officer Dave Padilla fired his department-issued pistol at Hoffman, hitting him in the stomach.
Padilla is on paid administrative leave while the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation looks into the shooting, the release said.
Just minutes before the shooting, business owner Scott Romsa came upon a "suspicious" man in the alley, crouched down by an employee's pickup truck.
Romsa said he now believes that was Hoffman.
An employee who happened to be with Romsa warned him of the gun, and that's when Romsa called police.
"They were here in minutes; it was amazing," he said. "Then we heard this hollering and shouting."
Romsa said he thought two shots had been fired behind his business, Norfleet Sheet Metal.
Hoffman was listed in good condition at United Medical Center-West.
Physicians planned to release him later in the day, a nursing supervisor said at 4 p.m.
It wasn't until the man was disabled that it was clear he was carrying an air pistol, police said.
That, Deputy Chief Bill Stanford said, is much like a BB or pellet gun.
Stanford had little more information beyond what was offered in the short release.
Earlier in the day, Lt. Rob Korber said charges are pending against Hoffman. He said he didn't know what those might include.
The investigation is ongoing, Stanford said.
Many officers from DCI and the police department spent hours Tuesday afternoon surveying the area between a yard at 2404 E. Eighth St. and a garage used by Norfleet. Its storefront faces E. Ninth St.
Measurements were taken by crime scene technicians who set up equipment in the yard of the E. Eighth St. home, a rental owned by Matthew Trefren.
That's the address where Padilla allegedly saw Hoffman, the release said
Across the alley, a bullet hole was spotted near an overhead garage door on a shop used by Norfleet.
Doors went unanswered in the neighborhood, and phone messages left for homeowners in the area weren't returned. One neighbor did say that for his 45 years there, it had been quiet.
While Stanford said he didn't know why Hoffman was in the neighborhood, Trefren said he rented that small home to the man a month ago.
"He seemed like a real nice guy," Trefren said. "It's sad. He looked like a pretty straight-up guy trying to get his life together."
Trefren said he was called a few weeks ago by friends of Hoffman's. They became alarmed when they hadn't heard from their buddy.
Trefren and police entered the home and then learned Hoffman was at the emergency room being treated for a cut he accidentally inflicted on himself.
"He couldn't believe they would do that," Trefren said. "But that's human nature. They cared about him."
Hoffman isn't completely unknown to police. Stanford said patrol officers have had multiple contacts with him.
"General stuff," Stanford said. "Low level."
Wy. suspect shot in stomach after revealing gun