The Great Falls Police Department has identified Tanner Lee as the officer who was shot by a fleeing suspect during a chase last week.
It happened on March 7, 2023, when an officer attempted a routine traffic stop at about 3:50 p.m. near 13th Avenue South and 17th Street. The vehicle did not stop and drove away, and the officer did not give chase. Another officer saw the suspect vehicle a few minutes later near Sixth Avenue South and 14th Street, and the two people in the vehicle ran away on foot.
A third officer saw the suspects in the vicinity of Fifth Avenue South and 12th Street and began chasing them on foot; according to Police Chief Jeff Newton, one suspect then turned and fired several shots at Officer Lee.
Officer Lee was hit and seriously injured; another officer drove Lee to Benefis Health System. Newton said the day after the shooting that Lee's injuries were "serious, but not life-threatening;" he sustained gunshots to his body armor and to his right arm. The shooting suspect - identified by Newton as 37-year old Jacob Kane Bradley - was then confronted by another officer and was shot in the head.
Officer Lee’s bullet-resistant armor stopped the shots to the chest but his arm sustained serious injury. He underwent surgery and has been released from the hospital.
The GFPD said in a news release that the prognosis is positive, but he will need further medical care, likely more surgery, and rehabilitation.
Officer Lee has been with the GFPD for nearly four years. Lee and his wife Harly have two children. He is a graduate of Great Falls High School and earned a degree in animal science from Montana State University.
A GoFundMe has been created where people can donate to help the Lee family; click here if you would like to help.
According to Newton, Bradley's injuries were critical. Bradley has not yet been charged for the shooting, pending his discharge from the hospital. According to the Montana Department of Corrections, Bradley has felony convictions for criminal endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child, accountability for theft, and escape. Newton said that Bradley was on parole from Yellowstone County at the time of the shooting.
The other suspect, identified as Nikki Snell, was charged in federal court in Great Falls on Monday, March 13. Snell, 38 years old, had an initial appearance on a charge of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm. Investigators identified Snell as the only passenger in the car driven by Bradley. Officers recovered a large brown purse that had been in the Bradley's possession. The court documents allege the purse belonged to Snell and that it contained a loaded 9mm, semi-automatic pistol, along with a syringe, an empty baggie with suspected methamphetamine, and a digital scale. The government alleged that Snell is prohibited from possessing a firearm, ammunition, destructive device or any other dangerous weapon because of a prior federal felony conviction.
The Montana Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is continuing to investigate the shootings.
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