CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Health officials in Wyoming have reported the exterior doors of the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department were vandalized with fake blood, a few days after a protest was held at the state Capitol against public health orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Department Executive Director Kathy Emmons said the fake blood, commonly used on Halloween, was splattered on the front and side doors on Thursday likely around 5:30 a.m., The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported.
Local health and law enforcement officials believe the motivation is tied to opposition to virus health orders intended to limit the spread of COVID-19. About 250 residents gathered at the state Capitol on Monday to protest the orders and burn masks.
"My assumption is that it's probably in part based on Monday, when people were becoming escalated," Emmons said. "I don't know that it was necessarily about us, so much as somebody wanting to act out in a really destructive way."
Cheyenne police spokesperson Alex Farkas said the case is under investigation.
"There has been a lot of anti-mask protests occurring downtown, and we think it could be in correlation to that," Farkas said.
"It's really sad. It's OK for us to have disagreement and stuff, but we need to be able to go about those with some sort of decorum," newly sworn-in Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins said. "I'm kind of at a loss for words, but it's really tragic. It really bothers me."
Emmons said she was surprised by the vandalism despite some of the local anti-mask sentiment surrounding COVID-19.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some - especially older adults and people with existing health problems - it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.