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Suspect killed after shooting at officers in Sanders County

Posted at 11:03 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-12 14:08:38-05

GREAT FALLS — A man is dead after engaging law enforcement officers in a stand-off and shooting at officers, wounding one of them.

The Montana Department of Justice said in a news release that on Friday, December 11th at about 12:30 a.m., the Sanders County Sheriff’s Office received a call for assistance regarding a man armed with a handgun and an assault rifle who had entered the Naughty Pine Saloon in Trout Creek. The man barricaded himself inside an area of the saloon. A small group of customers were inside at the time of the incident. A Sanders County deputy arrived and began negotiating with the man.

The man would not cooperate with the deputy and a request for assistance was made to the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department for use of its Tactical Negotiations and SWAT Teams. The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office was also requested for deployment of its SWAT and Negotiation Teams, which are comprised of Flathead County deputies and Kalispell police officers.

Although the majority of the customs were safely removed, a family member of the man refused to leave and remained inside. After negotiations with officers and subsequent tear-gas deployment, the family member was safely removed and taken into custody.

The man eventually left the saloon brandishing a firearm and less-than-lethal rounds were deployed in an attempt to not use lethal force. The effort was not successful, and the man tried to flee, shooting at pursuing officers, one of whom was shot by the man. Law enforcement officers returned fire, fatally wounding the man. The wounded officer was taken to Kalispell Regional Medical Center for treatment; his gunshot wound was not life-threatening.

The news release says that MT DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation was requested by the Sanders County Sheriff’s Department to conduct an independent investigation of the shooting. “These are always complex cases and will require thorough crime scene processing, extensive interviews, and a full assessment of the events leading up to the incident,” said DCI Administrator Bryan Lockerby. “With multiple law enforcement agencies involved and dynamic events happening, it takes a considerable amount of resources for a thorough and thoughtful investigation.” When the investigation is complete, DOJ will submit the case file to the Sanders County Attorney’s Office for review.

The name of the man has not yet been released, and no other details have been released at this point.

We will update you when we get more information.