State investigator called in after Ravalli County deputy kills suspect

2014-03-08T05:45:00Z 2014-11-15T06:24:01Z State investigator called in after Ravalli County deputy kills suspect missoulian.com

HAMILTON – State investigators have been called in to review evidence in an officer-involved shooting of a 47-year-old Hamilton man Thursday night.

The incident began with a 7:39 p.m. call to the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number from a woman saying her son was having problems with his girlfriend at his residence, according to a Montana Department of Justice news release.

The 47-year-old man – whose name has yet to be released – called the same number at 8 p.m., asking that a deputy come to his residence at 808 Cuf Lane.

At 8:21 p.m., the man called 9-1-1 to continue to talk about problems he was having with his girlfriend, who was not present at his home at the time.

The deputy – a three-year veteran of the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office – arrived at the man’s home just before 8:30 p.m.

The man allegedly became angry and agitated with the deputy after talking for several minutes, the news release said. He accused the deputy of not being a real law enforcement officer.

The man then walked toward a weapon that was visible in the room.

The deputy told him not to pick up the weapon, but the man allegedly disregarded those instructions and turned the weapon toward the law enforcement officer.

In response to the threat, the deputy fired and killed the man.

The man died on the scene.

The deputy has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the incident in accordance with standard procedure.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman requested the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation take the lead in considering the facts that will be reviewed in a coroner’s inquest to be held in Ravalli County.

Powell County Coroner John Pohle will serve as coroner in the case. Once the state’s investigation is complete, the case file will be turned over to Pohle and the Ravalli County attorney for review.

Local law enforcement agencies routinely request that state officials investigate officer-involved shootings.

Editor Sherry Devlin can be reached at 523-5250 or at sdevlin@missoulian.com.

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(26) Comments

  1. Lonnies wife
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    Lonnies wife - March 12, 2014 1:27 am
    1. The antique gun was across the living room from where my husband was sitting while talking to the officer. It was in plain sight.

    2. Not a domestic disturbance--I was not at home while any of this happened. I arrived at the house when they were wheeling my late husband into the ambulance...I had no idea anything had happened. There was no one else in the house...just him & an officer. Oh--and our pets.

    3. No, he was not insane. He had pushed his body and mind beyond his endurance by working long hours and tried to make it back home from Alabama ASAP to be with me and his son before we left for Nashville on the next job. He also did not believe in suicide as an option--enough already!!!


  2. Reason
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    Reason - March 11, 2014 11:45 am
    Um...not for anything...but the article only says there was a "weapon" visible. It doesn't say it was a firearm. When they say he turned the weapon towards the officer, it's leading to believe that its a gun, but for all we know, it could have been a baseball bat, a crowbar or even a broken bottle... of course; it's likely to have been a gun, but its funny how they don't come out and say outright: "gun"....unless it wasn't.
  3. WILD BILLY
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    WILD BILLY - March 10, 2014 11:11 pm
    Hey Run, Good advice,thanks. You never know,somebody might throw popcorn at Me when I am at the MOVIE THEATER. Thanks again.
  4. Objective observer
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    Objective observer - March 10, 2014 4:19 pm
    More insults. Hey Run, you got anything to post on here but insults? Apparently not.
  5. Snowcrest
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    Snowcrest - March 10, 2014 12:50 pm
    Ok,
    A 9-11 call to a domestic disturbance and we stand there and converse with an agitated individual while a visible firearm is in the room ?
    That deputy, or everyone else in the room could have been just as easily been the fatality/fatalities.
    Very unprofessional and dangerous.
    This is a teaching moment for the RCSO
  6. corruptMissoulian
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    corruptMissoulian - March 10, 2014 10:51 am
    You have to be kidding, they are just as trained with their tasers as they are with their standard firearms. If the situation was escalating why didnt he have his taser already ready, i read they were talking for a few minutes..
  7. Run - A- Mook
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    Run - A- Mook - March 09, 2014 8:37 pm
    that should be "unreasonable"
  8. Run - A- Mook
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    Run - A- Mook - March 09, 2014 1:49 pm
    @W.B.

    ) You sound reasonable...Time to up your medication.
  9. Barkinlounger
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    Barkinlounger - March 09, 2014 9:04 am
    Sounds like maybe somebody missed the class on deescalation techniques.
  10. Fawzhuh
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    Fawzhuh - March 08, 2014 9:02 pm
    Its not a training issue but a safety issue (unless you are Jack Bauer on "24"). SWAT team members may receive disabling shot training as well as the groups you mentioned. The training has very limited uses in very specific circumstances. This situation was not one of those. The groups you mentioned, as well as virtually anyone who receives defensive firearms training, are taught in "immediate danger" situations... center mass.
  11. Phil_Walker
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    Phil_Walker - March 08, 2014 9:01 pm
    There aren't enough facts present to come to any conclusions or judgments yet. Let's let the investigation come to a conclusion and the Coroner's Inquest happen. This is a tragic situation for everyone involved including the Deputy who had to make the decision to use deadly force.
  12. Run - A- Mook
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    Run - A- Mook - March 08, 2014 8:43 pm
    before you jump on me, that's, (fires) not firers.
  13. Run - A- Mook
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    Run - A- Mook - March 08, 2014 7:02 pm
    @in the pines
    As a retired Deputy Sheriff, when I was in the Sheriffs Academy, we were
    taught to shoot at the largest part of the body. Your chances of hitting his
    gun hand? You would be better off playing the Power Ball. As for as aiming
    for the leg or arm, he will be able to shoot you, where you should have shot
    him. When a cop firers his weapon, he shoots to kill.
  14. Tiger
    Report Abuse
    Tiger - March 08, 2014 6:41 pm
    I wonder if a tazer would have been enough force? Hard to tell from the story, but it seems like the officer had more than enough time to try that first and still blow him away with his service piece if that didn't work.
  15. Run - A- Mook
    Report Abuse
    Run - A- Mook - March 08, 2014 4:37 pm
    Only in the wild west movies.
  16. Bittersweet
    Report Abuse
    Bittersweet - March 08, 2014 4:36 pm
    Ughhhhh. Are you familiar with handguns or any firearms for that matter? Shoot to "wound?" An officers job is to protect the public and while doing so they need to protect themselves. These are split second decisions that the officers life depends on.

    It is likely a rare occasion an officer has time to take the chance of shooting at a smaller target (a hand/gun/leg) while their own life depends on getting it right the first time.

    You likely watch too much tv or movies?
  17. WILD BILLY
    Report Abuse
    WILD BILLY - March 08, 2014 3:25 pm
    Center mass,yes,especially if you're training is substandard,or even standard. Spec.Ops., Secret Service,etc. know how to take somebody alive. Civilian law enforcement just don't have that type of "high-end training",and most probably do not care,unfortunately.


  18. WILD BILLY
    Report Abuse
    WILD BILLY - March 08, 2014 2:24 pm
    And we all know cops don't lie!
  19. WILD BILLY
    Report Abuse
    WILD BILLY - March 08, 2014 2:23 pm
    I agree.
  20. WILD BILLY
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    WILD BILLY - March 08, 2014 2:20 pm
    A very sad and tragic incident,but this scenario JUST DONT ADD UP!!
  21. Fawzhuh
    Report Abuse
    Fawzhuh - March 08, 2014 2:14 pm
    Gun hand is a pretty small target anytime, much less in a highly charged situation. Center mass, always center mass!
  22. in the pines
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    in the pines - March 08, 2014 12:46 pm
    Yeah but why aren't our cops trained to shoot to wound rather than to shoot to kill? I understand that maybe a shot in the leg or arm would leave the guy still alive and maybe still able to fire his gun but still seems to me the Deputy could have shot the guy's gun hand or are they not that good? Wonder what part of the body actually was hit ? Be interesting to hear the woman's other side of this story.
  23. raptor53
    Report Abuse
    raptor53 - March 08, 2014 9:42 am
    yes. if you can believe what you are reading here. bottom line is this, there are no witnesses and dead men tell no tales.
  24. msonelson
    Report Abuse
    msonelson - March 08, 2014 7:53 am
    One thing for sure. When you're dead you don't get to tell your side of the story.
  25. walter12
    Report Abuse
    walter12 - March 08, 2014 7:35 am
    Either this person was actually insane to behave it that manner or it was a case of suicide by cop.
  26. COMMON SENSE
    Report Abuse
    COMMON SENSE - March 07, 2014 9:47 pm
    There are a couple of valuable lessons here. First off, if you call 911 and a man shows up a few minutes later dressed in a uniform with a badge and gun driving a car with a star on it, It's a safe bet that it's not the mail man. Secondly, if your gun is out of reach and you go for it, it's also a safe bet that the man with the badge can get to his first. They don't train those guys to take down 7-10 splits in a bowling alley, you know.
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