Casper, WY – A week after attending the International Association of Police Chiefs conference in Chicago as a Dupont Kevlar Survivors Club honoree, former Casper Police Officer Jacob Carlson is back home and working to move forward with his life after law enforcement.
But the medically-retired police officer can’t actually get beyond almost losing his life until he is no longer under the shadow of a lawsuit by the family of the man who shot him.
Officer Carlson told Blue Lives Matter that he was shot nine times by 38-year-old David Wolosin on May 6, 2018.
“One to my right shin, one through my right knee, one that is still in my left knee, and one to the pelvis,” he detailed.
Another shot from Wolosin disabled the officer’s gun.
Officer Carson was also hit by four rounds that were partially stopped by his vest during the gun battle with the suspect.
The incident began after police received a call that Wolosin was allowing children – one as young as three years old – to drive a motor vehicle in a vacant dirt lot.
Dashcam footage, which did not include audio, showed an officer traveling into the parking lot, where a white car was moving in reverse.
The vehicle stopped as Casper Police Officer Randi Garrett walked down and made contact with Wolosin in the front passenger seat. Then Wolosin stepped out of the vehicle, and appeared to be focused on something in his hand.
Fuller said that Wolosin, who “fancied himself as a sovereign” and didn’t recognize the authority of the government, refused to speak to speak with the officer, and that he instead made a phone call, the Casper Star Tribune reported.
Officer Carlson arrived at the scene a moment later, and joined Wolosin and Officer Garrett near the parked vehicle.
The dashcam video showed Wolosin as he moved towards the rear portion of the car, and began shooting at the officers.
The officers rushed to back away, and Officer Carlson collapsed to the ground before they both found cover behind Wolosin’s vehicle, and returned fire.
Wolosin was fatally shot during the gunfight, but the two children inside his vehicle were uninjured, police said.
Officer Carlson was rushed to a local hospital with “life threatening injuries,” the Casper Star Tribune reported.
The pain was so intense that Officer Carlson told the Casper Star-Tribune that he remembered yelling at the doctors to cut off his legs. His heart actually stopped five times during one of the operations to save him.
The wounded hero was treated for a shattered pelvis, a severed artery in his pelvic area, infections, and nerve damage for more than a month at the Wyoming Medical Center.
Officer Carlson was eventually able to return to light duty at the Casper Police Department, but the medical problems resulting from his gunshot wounds have continued to plague him.
He told Blue Lives Matter that he had to take a medical disability retirement from his department on Feb. 1 because even the light duty assignments he was trying to accomplish were too taxing for him.
“I have nerve damage basically from my left nipple to my left kneecap and I have foot-drop on my left leg,” Carlson explained. “The surgery killed all the nerves in my leg… I have to wear a brace all the time now to force my leg to do what it should do on its own.”
He also suffered cardiac damage as a result of his wounds in the line of duty.
“My heart is suffocating because it has so much scar damage from doing internal CPR on me,” Carlson told Blue Lives Matter.
The former police officer said that he and his wife, Natrona County Sheriff’s Deputy Tiffany Carlson, have been focused on rebuilding their lives and having children.
But even that has been a challenge for Carlson, who already has a four-year-old boy from a previous relationship, because the damage done to the former police officer’s groin area by Wolosin’s bullet was extensive.
In the midst of juggling the physical damage wrought by a gunman’s bullet, the wounded hero told Blue Lives Matter that he is also worried about a lawsuit the shooter’s family has threatened to file against him and his partner.
Wolosin’s family filed paperwork in September that announced their intention to sue the city, the police department, and the police officers involved in the incident for $700,000 for the emotional distress caused to the children who were in the car, the Casper Star Tribune reported.
Both Carlson and his partner, Officer Garrett, are named in the draft complaint that was filed with their procedural paperwork to start the process.
The attorney who represented the officers during the law enforcement investigation after the officer-involved shooting called the claim absurd and noted that investigators had determined Wolosin had fired into the car with children inside, not the police, the Casper Star Tribune reported.
“Rather than receive a verbal warning for allowing a 3-year-old to drive, [Wolosin] chose to shoot officers,” Don Fuller said. “Now he complains that they shot back.”
The district attorney ruled in July that both officers’ actions were justified when they returned fire at Wolosin, the Casper Star Tribune reported.
“Officers Carlson and Garrett reacted in a commendable and appropriate way to protect themselves from a deadly and unprovoked assault upon them,” then-District Attorney Michael Blonigen wrote to the investigating agent at the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
Carlson is ready to move on with his life – he’s working as a private investigator now – and put the shooting behind him, despite his ongoing medical complications.
But he told Blue Lives Matter that the pending lawsuit has prevented him from doing that.
“I’m not mad at the guy who shot me,” he explained. “I’m not mad at his family. I’m just ready to move forward and start fresh and not be ‘that guy’ anymore.”
But Wyoming law gives Wolosin’s family a full year to determine if they’re going to go through with their lawsuit or not.
“We’re in limbo for another year,” Carlson told Blue Lives Matter.
He said that if the lawsuit goes forward, the Casper City Council has already announced their intention to fight it.
In the meantime, Carlson and his deputy bride plan to continue to work on enlarging their family, whatever it takes.