Wyoming Medical Center Shooter: ‘I Thought I Was Dying’
A Casper man said he initially intended to shoot himself inside of Wyoming Medical Center in March. Instead, he "chickened out" and fired his weapon into a wall.
Mitchell D. Taylor was the final witness to testify in his jury trial Wednesday. He is charged with two counts of aggravated assault. Before Taylor took the stand, Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey ruled that Taylor could not mention being high on LSD during the incident.
According to court documents, Taylor told police he took LSD before driving himself to Wyoming Medical Center early on the morning of March 4.
While Taylor admits to firing his weapon inside the hospital, he denies trying to hurt anyone. He testified Wednesday that he does not remember interacting with a custodian or emergency room doctor before he fired his Springfield 9mm handgun.
Taylor said that he drove himself to the hospital because he thought he was dying. Surveillance footage shows him enter the ER, walk down a hallway and crouch down in front of two elevators.
Taylor said he laid down to "try to relax" but he was unable to. As seen on video surveillance footage shown to the jury Tuesday, he gestures off-camera and says something, though the video does not include audio.
"I was trying to talk to God or anyone who would listen," Taylor testified. "If you read my lips, I'm asking if I'm really dead."
"I'm yelling and screaming: 'Is this really for real?'"
Prosecutors contend that Taylor leveled his weapon, took aim and fired at a hospital custodian and later an ER doctor.
But Taylor testified Wednesday that he does not remember seeing the custodian or doctor. Amy Deskins, the custodian, testified Tuesday that when she encountered Taylor he said, "What are you looking at," before she quickly ran away. Taylor later fired his weapon multiple times.
However, Taylor testified that he heard "a God-awful noise" that he later figured out was a door opening and he said, "What the [expletive] was that?"
"It scared the hell out of me," Taylor said. "As quick as I could snap my fingers, it was gone."
Taylor didn't see anyone in the hallway. He said he was just shooting a gun.
"You pulled the trigger seven times," Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen told Taylor Wednesday morning.
Taylor responded that he wanted to shoot himself in the leg to see if he was alive but "chickened out." Instead, he shot the gun at a wall.
The trial will resume Wednesday afternoon. Either Itzen or Assistant Natrona County District Attorney Kevin Taheri will give the closing argument for the prosecution. After that, Taylor's attorney, Joseph Cole, will present his closing argument.
If jurors convict Taylor on both counts, he could face up to 20 years behind bars.