Man Denies Pointing Loaded Rifle at Natrona County Sheriff’s Deputies Near Casper
A man faces one felony and one misdemeanor charge for allegedly pointing a loaded AR-15 at a sergeant and a corporal of the Natrona County Sheriff's Office in April.
Michael L. Kegler, 40, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Natrona County District Court to one count of aggravated assault and one misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment. He could be sentenced to spend 11 years in prison and pay $11,000 in fines if convicted on both counts.
Charging papers say the deputies went to a home on April 6 for a shots-fired call. The person who called 911 said they heard two shots followed by "rapid fire of another burst of shots" in the area of Taxiway Drive.
The first deputy arrived in the area about five minutes after the 911 call came in, with the second deputy arriving shortly thereafter. They spoke to two men who said they heard several gunshots and directed the deputies to a nearby trailer home.
Deputies approached the trailer's front door, which was not well-lighted. One deputy pointed a flashlight at the front porch and reportedly saw Kegler standing there with a rifle.
Kegler was "standing with his knees ben[t] in a crouched position with his shoulders squared off toward [a deputy], similar to a tactical fighting position law enforcement utilizes," according to an affidavit.
Kegler allegedly had an AR-15 shouldered. As the deputy's flashlight illuminated Kegler, he reportedly began to raise the barrel and pointed it directly at the deputies.
The deputies immediately took cover behind parked vehicles and told Kegler to drop the gun, which he did. He was safely taken into custody.
An investigator arrived on scene and reportedly found two 9mm shell casings as well as eight .223 shell casings on the front porch next to the AR-15. No 9mm handgun was found, but an empty handgun holster was allegedly seen on the front seat of a nearby Chevy pickup.
Kegler reportedly told deputies he was so intoxicated he didn't remember much of the incident, having drank beer and whiskey that night.
Court documents say Kegler did remember standing on the porch with the AR-15. He said he recalled seeing a light shining in his face, making him think it was the "cops."
Kegler also said, according to an affidavit, he remembered hearing and following commands to drop the gun. He did not remember firing any guns throughout the night.
The investigator told Kegler about the spent shell casings, and Kegler allegedly said he had to have fired them that night. He was worried he had hurt someone, and repeatedly asked whether anyone had been hurt.
Kegler reportedly confirmed he owned the AR-15 and a 9mm pistol.