ROCK SPRINGS — Facing an armed gunman is a situation no one wants to experience.
However, that’s what restaurant workers at the Santa Fe Southwest Grill dealt with when a man, later identified as James Vickers and believed to have been under the influence of illicit drugs, fired a handgun in the restaurant Sept. 9. The staff worked quickly to evacuate the restaurant after noticing the man’s erratic behavior.
The Rock Springs City Council publicly commended the restaurant’s staff, as well as the officers, deputies and Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers that responded to the incident and ensured no one was injured during the incident.
“To hear a positive outcome in such a tragic situation … makes me proud to know we can still do it,” Councilman Randy Hanson said.
Councilman Tim Robinson said it isn’t farfetched to think a situation involving a gunman in a public place could happen in Rock Springs because violent crimes have occurred in the city, citing past armed robberies as examples. Robinson said the response time to the restaurant was impressive and said people don’t often hear about other people involved having an impact on defusing a dangerous situation.
Both Robinson and Hanson are former members of the Rock Springs Police Department.
Rock Springs Police Department Officer Trevor Christensen summed up his sentiments while speaking with restaurant staff outside of City Hall. “You guys aren’t paid to do this,” he said. “You guys are amazing; you made our jobs easier.”