NewsCrime and Courts


Helena Man Accused of Impersonating an Officer and Obstructing Justice

Posted at 6:34 PM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-15 20:34:31-04

HELENA — A 56-year-old Helena man is accused of impersonating an officer, tampering with evidence and obstructing justice.

John David Staats appeared via video in Lewis and Clark County Justice Court on Tuesday October 15.

Staats has been charged with felony Impersonation of Public Servant, felony Tampering With Evidence and felony Obstructing Justice.

Court documents say Helena Police responded to the 3000 block of Villard Ave. around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday October 12 for reports of a gunshot.

Once on scene, officers reportedly found bullet-hole damage to a home.

Investigators allege Staats was showing another person a firearm that he believed was unloaded and told them to pull the trigger when the gun went off.

Staats is then accused of moving the firearm to his vehicle.

One of the complainants that called in the gunshot told police Staats told them not to call law enforcement because he was with the police, and flashed an HPD Volunteer ID.

HPD told MTN Staats was a volunteer for them at one time, but that program has been inactive for over a year.

Staats was ordered by the court not to use or possess firearms and sign up with Pretrial Services.

He will make his plea in District Court on November 6.