Home Depot, Contractors Meet About Rebuilding Sheridan Home Destroyed During Standoff

No eyes were dry in the house.

A naturally shy Karo Hamilton slipped into the limelight Monday night to deliver a gut-wrenching message about the ordeal she’s been through.

She stood at the podium in the Best Western’s Snow Goose conference room in downtown Sheridan to thank the community for its generous offer to rebuild her eastside home, which was ripped apart last week during a 32-hour police standoff to get a barricaded intruder pried out.

She, and her demolished home that looks like it’s been hit by a tornado, have been thrust into the local spotlight, though that’s not where she ever wanted to be.

For Hamilton, it’s not a sure thing to file an insurance claim to collect rebuild money for her house. That’s what lawyers and claims adjusters are telling her.

The city of Sheridan is expected to release her property located at 1050 N. Sheridan Ave. on Thursday. That’s when insurance adjusters can jump into action to snap photos of the destroyed home and file a claim for possible recovery of losses, explained Jessica Weaver, owner of the Weaver Insurance Agency in Sheridan and who handles the homeowner’s insurance policy for the property.

Weaver declined to speculate on whether Hamilton would be successful in her claim, saying that, “We can’t get ahead of the adjuster.”

“It’s up to the carrier to decide,” Weaver said. “It’s being treated as a typical claim, like for a fire or a tornado.”

Still, the tightknit community isn’t sitting around waiting for an outcome.

‘I’ll Never Be Able To Repay You Guys’

On Monday, Hamilton stood fewer than three blocks from the spot where the intruder — who hijacked Hamilton’s house while she was out getting her car fixed — had allegedly killed a beloved Sheridan police officer the morning of Feb. 13.

Less than a week after the ordeal, Hamilton’s thoughts were pointed at the Best Western audience. No mincing of words.

“I’ll never be able to repay you guys for this,” said a quivering Hamilton, who choked up and couldn’t utter much else, according to those who were in attendance.

The outpouring of support for Hamilton comes as the result of Jeremiah Morley, a general contractor, and his girlfriend Lindsay Aman, who didn’t want to see Hamilton face financial ruin and homelessness for something she couldn’t control.

“We had a really good turnout and support,” Aman said. “This is all beyond words. She (Hamilton) is baffled that the city is doing this. She’s speechless, and choked up, and overwhelmed with the blessings of the town.”

The 35-year-old Morley offered to lend his hands to help rebuild the house and has assembled a laundry list of contractors — some of whom are childhood friends from Hamilton’s street — to pitch in. The purpose of Monday’s gathering was to map out who does what.

More than 70 contractors and good Samaritans from the community who want to volunteer time, food and materials to rebuild her house and whatever else, sat around tables in the Snow Goose to figure out next steps.

Morley’s job is to orchestrate the subcontractors to rebuild Hamilton’s home, which is a complete loss.

“It was a huge turnout. More than I expected,” said Aman, who counted five notebook pages filled with more than 75 donations overall, ranging from food to labor.

Home Depot Will Help

The biggest philanthropic headliner Monday may have come from Sheridan’s Home Depot.

Assistant store managers Ken Loessberg and Don Coletta told the group that the local store will play a role in paying for materials on the project. Nothing has been determined on just how much.

Brad Willis, the store’s manager, told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that the plan is for his store to partner with a local nonprofit to help rebuild the home.

The local store has been involved in other community projects in the past – like building a wheelchair ramp, chicken coup, raised garden beds and replacing metal security doors.

Hamilton’s rebuild project could become the store’s largest local effort.

“It depends on what materials are needed and the quotes we get on the labor,” Willis said. “We’ll be a big player. I’m a member of the community and I feel a responsibility to help out in this situation, and to act.”

Contributions could include concrete, electrical wiring, HVAC, lumber, plumbing, roofing, siding and anything else needed to build a house over again.

“That’s a big deal,” Aman said. “That’s amazing. This warms my heart.”

Hanns Mercer, the city’s Public Works Director, announced at the Monday meeting that he plans go before city council next week to request that all fees be waived for building permits and hauling away Hamilton’s North Sheridan Avenue ruins to the Sheridan City Landfill off of East Ridge Road.

“That’s our step one,” Mercer told Cowboy State Daily. “I believe the city is handling the demolition. This will all happen while insurance does its thing. There are a lot of conversations behind the scenes.”

Other steps are tough to speculate on.

“At the moment, that’s where we are at today. This is new to everybody, and we are navigating through this together, and we’ll see what comes of this,” he said.

Morley got involved with helping Hamilton after Aman flashed him the Facebook photos of the demolished home near his childhood home at 7th Avenue and North Sheridan Street.

Sgt. Krinkee Gave His Life

While there has been an outpouring of support for Hamilton and losing her house, the effort to help her hasn’t overshadowed that, for the first time, a Sheridan police officer has been killed in the line of duty.

A week ago, Sheridan police Sgt. Nevada Krinkee died on the front lawn of a home at 58 5th St. when William Lowery, 46, allegedly shot Krinkee to death, then fled the scene. The suspect later took refuge in the house owned by Hamilton. Lowrey died at the scene 32 hours after police shot and killed him when he attempted to flee the scene.

Lowery reportedly shot Krinkee while he was trying to serve a trespass notice at the rental house from which Lowery had been evicted one day earlier by a judge’s order.

Hamilton’s wheelchair-bound mother was pulled out of the home even as Lowery hid in it. Tactical teams from around the state tried everything to extract Lowery. They shot gas cannisters into the home, sprayed hundreds — if not thousands — of gallons of water in, pointed floodlights on the house, and made loudspeaker entreaties to persuade Lowery to surrender.

As a last option, an excavator tore a gaping hole in the side of the house with sections of the two-story home exposed, and floors visibly collapsed with furniture and other personal belongings hanging from dresser drawers.

The house doesn’t seem salvageable, but that’s up to the insurance adjusters to ultimately decide.

“We have to step back a little bit and let the house be released, and then pick a house plan comparable to what she had, then send the plan to all of the subcontractors to submit bids on with Jeremiah,” Aman explained.

Morley and other subcontractors will donate their time to rebuild the house, but not pay for it, she said.

“People expected to learn more, but it’s so early,” said Aman of the somber meeting that only lasted an hour.

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Pat Maio can be reached at [email protected].

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