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Ecuadorian reportedly shot by intruder near Ten Sleep

A rock climber from Ecuador is recovering in a Billings hospital after he reportedly was shot in the chest by a mysterious campground intruder early Monday at a popular climbing location in Wyoming.

 

 

Jose Mosquera and Ana Deaconu were awakened in their tent in the Leigh Creek Campground east of Ten Sleep along state Highway 435 by a noise. Deaconu told the Powell Tribune they heard a noise that turned out to be a falling branch that landed on their tent.

She said a second noise brought them out of their tent, since they thought perhaps a tree was collapsing atop them. It turned out to be a rock the size of a grapefruit, Deaconu said.

“It was an unpleasant surprise,” she said.

They decided to run to their car to seek shelter, but Mosquera was shot in the chest before they could get there, Deaconu said. She said she saw someone rustling in the bushes, and Mosquera heard a vehicle drive away.

Deaconu, 25, drove him to Worland and the sheriff was notified about 3 a.m. Deputies responded to the Washakie Medical Center, according to the sheriff’s office.

Mosquera had been struck by a bullet from a small-caliber weapon. He was life-flighted to Billings. Mosquera was listed in stable condition at St. Vincent Healthcare Thursday morning, and he was able to speak through his girlfriend.

Mosquera speaks Spanish, while Deaconu, who lives with him in Ecuador, has dual residency in Romania and the United States. She said they were “wary” about speaking about the incident, since Mosquera’s family learned of the shooting through online reports before they could tell them.

Deaconu said they “prefer not to suspect” anyone right now in the shooting, and are discussing it with investigators.

Washakie County Sheriff Steve Rakness said the shooting remains under investigation.

“At this time I do not feel there is any immediate threat to the climbing community in the canyon or the Ten Sleep area, as we have not received or obtained any information or evidence to suggest otherwise,” Rakness told the Climbing.com. “However, because details are sketchy and we are still investigating this issue, I would like everyone to please call with any info they might have about this case, or if anyone observes or hears about suspicious persons or incidents in the area. Any information will be helpful.”

If you have more information on the shooting, contact the Washakie County Sheriff’s office at 307-347-2242.

Deaconu said the couple has been in Wyoming for two weeks, and enjoyed their time rock climbing and seeing the area. She translated these comments from Mosquera:

“The Ten Sleep area is very nice and we hope to come back to the area again,” Deaconu said. “We want the people of Ten Sleep to know we do not hold this against anyone there.”

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