CHEYENNE — On Tuesday, July 20, well-wishers were sprinkled among the Coin Shop’s customers. Some called, some visited in person, and one even dropped off a bouquet of flowers. All intended to pay their respects, six years to the day after a horrific and still unsolved double homicide that took place blocks from a Cheyenne Frontier Days pancake breakfast wrapping up downtown.
Around 9:30 a.m. July 20, 2015, shop owner Dwight Brockman, 67, and friend George “Doc” Manley, 76, were shot and killed inside the Coin Shop at 510 W. Lincolnway.
No suspects have ever been arrested or publicly identified by law enforcement, and the investigation remains open.
“Dad knew so many people around town – not just through the Coin Shop, but he was also a lifelong musician and member of all the lodges here in town, the Eagles and the Elks and the Moose and what have you,” said David Brockman, who now runs the shop in his father’s place. “He knew a whole lot of people, and a lot of people knew and loved Dad.”
This year marked the first July 20 since Dwight Brockman’s death that the Coin Shop had been open to customers, David said. At about 3:30 in the afternoon, he was still there, which he felt was an accomplishment.
In years past, Brockman closed the store on July 19, and it remained closed throughout the remainder of the month. This year, he chose to finish out the week, shutting his doors at the end of the day on Friday, July 23, and planning to reopen on Tuesday, Aug. 3.
“I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I decided to try it. I can’t let it dominate my mind forever,” Brockman said.
Despite his resolve, he said it’s still difficult to work at the store, and especially hard on an anniversary.
It helps to be busy, to have distractions. He only talks about that day with family and very close friends.
“I was in a fog for about a year there, maybe a little longer, is the best way I can explain it,” he said. “It was so traumatic and sudden and unexpected.”
Brockman reopened the store just a few months after the murders in October 2015. In a Wyoming Tribune Eagle article from Nov. 7, 2015, he said the public’s response was a big motivation to reopen.
“We decided that if there was that much interest, maybe we could keep it going,” he said at the time.
There was an interior remodel, and security cameras were added. But six years later, the business hasn’t changed much, outside of “the name on the door and the face behind the counter,” Brockman said.
He runs the store the same way he watched his dad run it for three decades, beginning when he was a teenager and the Coin Shop was located on 18th Street.
The Coin Shop mainly caters to two kinds of people: hobbyist collectors and numismatists, who collect and study coins.
It also sells precious metals, which people often buy as investments, Brockman said.
Additionally, the shop buys unwanted metals that Brockman then sends to a refiner, who either buys the metal from him or sends it back for Brockman to sell.
At the end of the day, the goal is to be “straight up” with customers – just how his dad did it.
“The theory of it all is that I don’t really care if you buy or sell me anything, but at least now you have more information, are a bit better educated on the particular subject, so down the line, the next guy can’t pull the wool over your eyes or pull a fast one on you,” Brockman said.
On the day of the shootings, Cheyenne Police officers were dispatched to the Coin Shop at about 9:30 a.m. in reference to a robbery in progress with a firearm, according to the police department.
When they arrived, they secured a perimeter around the building and found Dwight Brockman and Manley inside with fatal gunshot wounds. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.
In January 2021, shortly after new Police Chief Mark Francisco assumed the position, the department issued a news release “seeking additional information in the ongoing investigation” into the Coin Shop homicides. An award up to $50,000 is available to anyone who provides information leading to an arrest in the case.
Since then, though, no significant tips have come in, according to the department.
Despite this, police project an air of resolve, vowing not to give up until an arrest is made.
“We’re still not at a dead end, by any means,” Francisco said. “We have some things we still want to look into, some things we want to revisit, so it’s certainly active.”
What makes the case difficult, the chief said, is that homicides are typically personal or can be connected to an aspect of an individual’s lifestyle.
“While those things aren’t completely ruled out here, they’re also not obvious, either,” he said. “What you’re missing is an obvious motive for someone to want to take this action, so it makes it difficult to narrow your focus.”
The incident was originally reported as an armed robbery, but it was unclear whether anything was taken from the shop.
Police found a class ring at the scene, according to previous reporting, but Francisco said it’s still not known how or if the ring is connected to the murders. The fact that the crime happened during Frontier Days, when the city of Cheyenne sees an influx of hundreds of thousands of people, adds another layer of difficulty.
Shortly after the shooting, officers even received a tip that a suspect had jumped on a train leaving town, according to previous reporting. Law enforcement stopped several trains and searched the tracks near Southwest Drive, but eventually determined the suspect had likely not tried to leave on a train.
Just after the murders, the suspect was described by police as a Hispanic male between 5 feet, 6 inches and 5 feet, 8 inches tall. He was reportedly wearing a dark shirt.
One positive that came from the case was a re-evaluation of how public safety resources are distributed during Frontier Days, former Chief Brian Kozak said.
In 2019, Frontier Days contributed half of the amount needed to pay for CPD officers’ overtime to work the event, meaning resources weren’t taken away from citywide crimes during the 10-day rodeo event, according to previous reporting.
One year after the incident, a news release said police had “conducted 130 interviews, executed 19 search warrants and followed up on more than 150 tips related to the case,” according to previous reporting.
More than 230 pieces of evidence had been collected, and over 3,000 hours had been dedicated to the investigation. At one point, there were three or four individuals who the investigation had focused on, the former chief said, but none rose to the level of a suspect.
“We were able to substantiate that those people most likely were not involved in this homicide,” he said. “During that period of time, we were optimistic, and, unfortunately, though, those tips didn’t go anywhere.”
In late 2016, the department received results from a DNA laboratory in Colorado, but law enforcement didn’t learn any new information.
Eventually, the rate of tips coming in slowed, virtually stopping altogether just before Kozak left the department, he said.
The unsolved case weighs heavily on current and former law enforcement officers.
“This particular crime haunts me more than any case I’ve ever worked at the Cheyenne Police Department, and I think about it constantly,” Detective Lt. Rob Dafoe said. “I was at the scene, I was very much and have been a part of the investigation, and I can’t tell you how bad that I personally want to solve this case – not only for the victims and their families, but the community of Cheyenne.”
Kozak, who served as Cheyenne’s police chief for more than a decade, said it was the one case he’d hoped would be solved before the end of his tenure.
“(It was) one of the few things when I was chief that kept me awake at night, trying to figure out how we could solve that,” Kozak said.
Still, those involved say they remain optimistic about the investigation.
Detective Jim Fahling is the third detective to be assigned to the case, Kozak said. He said he made sure to change up detectives after a period of time to get fresh eyes on it. Kozak said Fahling planned to reexamine aspects of the case and look at new angles, adding that future technology could always introduce new information.
“Sometimes you don’t understand how the evidence ties in together ‘til you find that one missing piece of the puzzle,” Francisco said.
The police chief urged anyone with any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to reach out to investigators.
Law enforcement involved with the case meet regularly with the victims’ families. Brockman and his family are behind the police and their investigation completely, he said, and hopeful the case will someday be solved.
“I personally believe it’s a matter of the right person coming forward. I don’t believe for a minute that nobody knows nothing – I’m not that ignorant,” Brockman said. “Somebody somewhere knows – they’re just not bringing it forward, for whatever reasons, and someday, hopefully, that’ll come out and maybe there’ll be an end to it.
“Regardless, it’ll never be enough for me and mine. (Even) if they catch the guy and he admits to it, and they put him in the electric chair and I get to push the button, it ain’t gonna be enough. But it would be nice to know that there’s not a murderer walking the streets of Cheyenne.”