Wyoming Medical Center Began Security Changes Immediately After March 4 Shooting
Within hours after a man entered the Wyoming Medical Center and fired multiple shots early March 4, hospital officials said they began changing security.
"You have to maintain the vigilance, right, in highly emotional situations, and especially in the emergency department is a highly emotional area of the hospital," hospital CEO Michele Chulick said Tuesday.
"So we are taking great, great precaution in having that armed security person at the entrance until we can determine exactly what we're going to do," Chulick said at the monthly meeting of the board of trustees that oversees the lease between the nonprofit hospital and Natrona County.
Hospital officials also have secured entrances, will have training programs, and are considering adding more armed security personnel.
"One of the first things that we did was, we engaged with the Natrona County Sheriff's Office and did a risk assessment of the perimeter of the hospital and we secured the exterior exits after 10 o'clock," said Mike Staley, senior vice president and chief administrative officer.
The doors had keys, but the badge readers are being installed instead, Staley said.
Some doors already had badge readers, which limited the alleged shooter's access, he said.
Likewise, boxes with badges will be installed at the doors for law enforcement to gain access, Staley said.
Fourteen or 15 doors had to be secured, and emergency room entrance is now the only door for access after 10 p.m., he said.
Next week, Staley said the county's Community Emergency Response Team will review security measures inside the hospital.
He also is working with a third-party company that conducts security risk reviews of hospitals, he said.
A training program called "Shots Fired in Health Care" will be presented to the hospital's directors that tells staff what to do to protect themselves, and what to do when law enforcement arrives, Staley said.
"If you don't train, that's when you tend to freeze when those things happen," he said. "But if you train, and continue to train, then it's still going to be a scary situation; but you're intuitively going to know what to do."
The case started about 1 a.m. March 4 when the suspect, later identified as Mitchell Taylor, entered a security door in the back of the hospital seeking help because he had taken LSD, Casper police detective Adrian White said during the preliminary hearing for Taylor in Natrona County Circuit Court on March 14.
He pointed a gun at a custodian, fired several shots and missed.
He also shot at a doctor who had walked out of a lounge, and also missed.
A Casper police officer arrested Taylor soon after that.
Taylor is in custody on a $500,000 bond and will be arraigned in Natrona County District Court.
The nonprofit Wyoming Medical Center Inc., was formed in 1986.
Until then, it was known as the Memorial Hospital of Natrona County, which was owned and operated by Natrona County. After the creation of the WMC, the county continued to own the physical plant of the hospital, which is mostly in the 1200 blocks of East Second and Third streets. The WMC leases the property from the county to perform health care. The WMC's rent, in effect, is to maintain the value of the physical plant and provide care for the indigent.
A five-member board of trustees -- called the Memorial Hospital of Natrona County -- oversees the WMC's lease of the county's property.