Members of the Northern Arapaho community held a candlelight vigil last night for Anderson "Andy" Antelope, the 58-year-old man shot and killed by law enforcement in front of a Walmart store in Riverton on Saturday, September 21.
The vigil began outside of Riverton City Hall and moved to the nearby sidewalk along North Federal Boulevard. Throughout the evening, Antelope's family passed around a petition demanding the release of information related to the shooting.
"We have to hold the police accountable," said Micah Big Wind, an organizer of last night's vigil and a friend of Mr. Antelope. "We're not asking for things out of the ordinary. We need to know the story. We deserve that. The public deserves that."
In a statement released on Monday, Fremont County Prosecutor Pat Lebrun said that an officer had been trying to arrest Antelope for "observed violations of law," and that Antelope attacked the officer with a knife prior to being shot. Investigators have released few other details.
Antelope's family say that he had struggled with chronic alcoholism, which had taken a toll on his physical health. According to his nephew Shilo TwoBulls, Antelope had also suffered a traumatic brain injury and was prone to bouts of confusion.
"From the episode that I've seen, he just doesn't know who you are. He didn't know who I was," TwoBulls said. "I had to take my time and say 'Hey Uncle, it's me Shilo, are you okay?' and he wouldn't respond right away."
Friends and family members shared stories about Antelope's life during the vigil, and remembered him as a kind man with a good sense of humor.
Antelope's sister Lavina Antelope described him as the "baby" of the family, although he was not the youngest of his nine siblings. She said that he was a ceremonial man who, for many years, he had participated in the Northern Arapaho Sundance.
"Everybody loved him, you know? Always laughter all the time," Antelope said. "My brother didn't deserve to die. His life mattered, too, you know."
Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen said in a statement that his office will convene a public inquest to determine the manner and cause of Antelope's death, but that it could take as many as five weeks to arrange that inquest. The shooting itself is under investigation by Wyoming's Department of Criminal Investigation.
TwoBulls, who was Antelope's Power-of-Attorney at the time of his death, believes that the officer could have de-escalated the situation or used non-lethal force to subdue his uncle.
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