WHEATLAND – According to reports from John Robinson, Platte County Attorney, who was sent the report from Platte County Attorney Doug Weaver, the following statements were made. “I have reviewed the entire report from DCI including the interviews, Captain Russell’s body camera video and the Medical Examiner’s Report, and conclude that Captain Russell’s actions in this case were consistent with his training, and the Platte County Sheriff’s Office policy on the use of force for an officer faced with a threat to his life and to others. The use of lethal force was completely justified due to the actions of the deceased, David Matthew Cain.”
Russell and other officers were responding to a request for assistance made by Mr. Cain’s mother because David Cain and his brother, Nathan Cain, were physically fighting in the residence and Nathan asked her to call law enforcement. In accordance with law enforcement policy more than one officer responded to domestic dispute calls.
The officers responding were aware that law enforcement had been previously called to the residence on prior occasions for altercations between the brothers, use of drugs, and child support warrants.
Russell was the first officer on the scene and in accordance with his training, he activated his body cam upon arriving at the residence. The body cam shows him approaching the front door of the residence and the decedent’s sister opening the door for him. Upon stepping through the door, Russell observed David Cain in the doorway of a hall across the kitchen from the front door, holding a double bit ax and yelling at Russell to leave.
Russell drew his duty weapon and ordered Cain to drop the ax. In the span of 10 seconds from the time Russell observed Cain still holding the ax, he ordered him to drop the ax three times, yet witnessed Cain continue to walk toward him and then saw Cain raise the ax with both hands in a threatening manner.
Russell ordered Cain to drop the ax a third time during the confrontation which did not stop Cain who continued toward Russell who then fired his weapon when Cain was within a few feet from him.
Nathan Cain was interviewed by DCI a few hours after the incident regarding his fight with his brother at 70 Antelope Drive, Wheatland, Wyoming on April 1, 2020.
Nathan Cain stated that he and his brother had been arguing over religion and that they began wrestling with each other and David was holding him down when he asked his mother to call law enforcement.
Nathan Cain stated he thought David Cain was using methamphetamine as he was “acting weird and had previously claimed to be Jesus.”
According to the DCI report, “during the time David was holding Nathan down, David accused him of having a demon in him and kept telling the demon to get out. When Nathan asked his mother to call law enforcement David got off him and returned to the kitchen with the ax at about the same time that Russell entered the front door.
Nathan recalled that Russell told David to drop the ax three times and that David said, “F ... you. I’m not going with you. Try and take me,” and did not drop the ax.
Cain’s mother, Donna Persefield, and his sister, Laura Balbuena, were interviewed by DCI April 1, 2020, and Persefield stated she thought David Cain was using methamphetamine at the time as he had claimed to be god or a god and would argue with his brother, Nathan Cain, about religion. She also mentioned that David and Nathan were arguing and she could hear them wrestling and called law enforcement.
Persefield stated she could not see into the kitchen area from where she was sitting and could not see if Cain was holding anything, but did hear Russell tell Cain to put something down.
Cain’s sister, Laura Balbuena, stated she was in the living room with her mother and could hear her brothers arguing in the kitchen and then began physically fighting, and that her mother called law enforcement. When asked, she stated Cain had a history of fighting with the family and before law enforcement arrived David told them all that he was going to burn the house down and that they were all going to hell.
Balbuena stated her mother told her to open the front door as the police were coming. She stated she opened the door for Russell and then looked into the kitchen and saw David Cain holding an ax and heard Russell yelling at him to drop the ax before he was shot. She said the officers immediately began rendering aid to Cain and called for an ambulance.
The Toxicology Report as part of the Medical Examiner’s Report found the presence of the following in David Cain’s blood at the time of his death:
Amphetamine at a level of 53 ng/ml;
Methamphetamine at a level of 200 ng/ml;
Delta-9 THC, the active ingredient of marijuana, at a level of 1.2 ng/ml;
Buprenorphine, a schedule III controlled synthetic opioid, at a level of 2.3 ng/ml; Norbuprenophine, a metabolite of Buprenorphine, at a level of 1.8 mg/ml.
The Medical Examiner’s Report states, “Blood levels of 200 ng/ml to 600 ng/ml have been reported in Methamphetamine abusers who exhibited violent and irrational behavior.” The level of Methamphetamine in Cain’s blood is consistent with his violent and irrational actions at the time he confronted Russell with the ax.
According to Robinson, “Russell acted as any law enforcement officer would who was faced by a person who refused to drop a deadly weapon after 3 lawful commands to the weapon and continue to advance toward him. David Cain is responsible for his own death as he chose to threaten Russell with the ax and refused to drop it when ordered to do so.”