The hunt for a shooting suspect continues in Island Park, just two days after he disappeared into the woods.
Fremont County Sheriff’s deputies used ATVs Wednesday to scour the woods in the Upper Valley. They were looking for 34-year-old Jerrod Hillman of Madison County, after he allegedly shot his friend in the leg.
This is something most locals have never dealt with before — the uncertainty of a gunman on the loose.
“The whole town is talking about it through email traffic, texting and phone calls. It’s the talk of the town right now,” said Pond’s Lodge general manager Carl Solden.
The lodge is just minutes away from the spot where Hillman was last seen.
Solden said a lot has changed just in the past two days since Hillman allegedly shot his passenger Monte Sommer, after getting kicked out of a bar.
Sommer is in fair condition.
“I think everybody’s been a little more diligent in what they’re doing and more aware of their surroundings. A lot of people are nervous,” said Solden.
Roni Kennedy works for 911 dispatch and even she is taking the news pretty seriously.
“I think it made everybody really nervous. We are watching out for our neighbors, locking up things that we normally wouldn’t lock up and just being really cautious,” said Kennedy.
She’s doing exactly what Sheriff Len Humphries has cautioned locals to do — be on the lookout and when you see something odd, call dispatch.
He believes although Hillman escaped with a shotgun, he’s likely sobered up and no longer poses much of a threat.
“Nobody’s dead. There are certainly some serious injuries and we certainly have some issues here that need to be dealt with,” said Humphries.
Humphries wants to work together with Hillman to resolve his issues while keeping the community out of harm’s way.
“His track record is not good. He’s been in trouble a lot,” said Humphries.
That trouble the sheriff talked about includes some prison time for rape.
Humphries has asked everyone in and around Island Park to be on the lookout for Hillman.
If you see him, call the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office at 624-4482.