Man Faces Felony Charges After Incident at Santa Fe Trail

Man Faces Felony Charges After Incident at Santa Fe Trail

James Chadwick Vickers. Sweetwater County Detention Center photo

ROCK SPRINGS — A man accused of firing a gun in the Santa Fe Trail Restaurant Saturday afternoon is facing multiple felony charges related to alleged drug possession and faces more than 20 years in prison.

James Chadwick Vickers, 44, made his initial appearance before Circuit Court Judge Craig Jones Monday afternoon, where his bond was set at $100,000 cash only. According to the prosecutor at Vickers’ initial appearance, he is on bond for a weapons-related incident in Colorado and one of the conditions of that bond was to not possess firearms. 

Vickers faces 10 charges consisting of four felony-level drug possession charges, one misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge, and five misdemeanor charges of reckless endangering. The felony drug charges each carry a possible maximum penalty of not more than five years in prison and a fine of $10,000 or both. The misdemeanor marijuana possession charge has a maximum penalty of imprisonment for up to 12 months and a maximum fine of $1,000, while the reckless endangering charges each carry a penalty of imprisonment for up to one year and a maximum fine of $750 for each charge.  

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Vickers is alleged to have possessed suspected drugs consisting of 3.4 grams of oxymetholone, 15.7 grams of drostanolone, 20.7 grams of testosterone and 40.3 grams of nandrolone. The four drugs are anabolic steroids and are considered Schedule III controlled substances under Wyoming law. The amounts Vickers is alleged to have possessed are considered felony amounts because they each exceed 3 grams, a weight threshold used for many misdemeanor drug possession charges. Vickers is alleged to have possessed 2.1 grams of marijuana. 

A preliminary hearing for Vickers was set for Sept. 20 at 3 p.m. before Judge Jones. 

According to court documents, Rock Springs Police Department officers responded to a weapons call from the Santa Fe Trail Restaurant at 12:40 p.m. Sept. 9 after a man later identified as Vickers was seen walking outside with two handguns. Employees of the restaurant evacuated between 25 and 30 patrons. At 12:43 p.m. central dispatch reported a shot had been fired inside the restaurant. Five employees were in the building and heard the gunshot when it happened, leading to the five reckless endangering charges. 

After he was detained, Vickers reportedly told officers he threw the firearms into the building and was attempting to defend himself against an unidentified man. However, officers noted many of Vickers’ statements did not make sense to them. Court documents state officers reportedly noticed Vickers’ actions being “all over the place,” which included moving his jaw from side to side and moving his hands in a twitching motion.

Vickers reportedly told officers he was a methamphetamine addict and had used the drug two or three days before near Oklahoma. Vickers said he was in Rock Springs and was headed to Pinedale to work on an oil rig for two weeks. Arriving in Rock Springs, Vickers parked in a lot across the street from Taco Time, opened all four doors of his 2016 Ford Explorer and claimed to tell an unidentified man riding with him to get out of the vehicle. He then walked to the Santa Fe Trail Restaurant with a .38 revolver and a 9mm handgun in a bag he had with him. Vickers reportedly told officers after he sat down, he saw two men he could not identify enter the restaurant armed with pistols.

Vickers reportedly told officers he took cover behind the front cash register with both guns and allegedly fired two or three shots through the display case at one of the men, then allegedly fired one or two more shots at another man walking in the back of the restaurant. He then moved to the front door where he saw officers and dropped his guns when ordered to.

After being taken to the interview room at the Rock Springs Police Department, officers noticed Vickers could not sit still as he continually sat down and rose from his seat, continued moving his jaw back and forth and was breathing heavily. Witnesses at the restaurant told officers they believed Vickers was tweaking. At the restaurant, officers recovered a large black duffle bag, a black Springfield 9mm handgun, a silver Smith & Wesson .38 revolver with two extra spent casings, four spent casings from the 9mm handgun, one spent casing from the revolver, and a cloth gun case. 

A search warrant was granted on Vickers’ vehicle, which led to the discovery of the suspected anabolic steroids and marijuana.