UM law dean: Janitor had 2 pistols, knife in closet; shot himself accidentally

2013-05-10T06:10:00Z 2014-03-17T19:30:14Z UM law dean: Janitor had 2 pistols, knife in closet; shot himself accidentally

A janitor at the University of Montana School of Law who was allegedly keeping a knife and two pistols in a janitorial closet there accidentally shot himself in the foot Wednesday night while handling one of the guns.

Law School Associate Dean Greg Munro notified students of the incident in an email sent Thursday morning.

The janitor, Josiah Pratt, was handling one of the pistols when he shot himself in the foot at the Law School, Munro’s email said.

Peggy Kuhr, UM vice president of integrated communications, said the man has been charged with disorderly conduct by the UM Office of Public Safety and has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of further investigation into the incident.

Because it is a personnel issue, Kuhr would not confirm details of the incident or the name or position of the employee involved.

“There are privacy considerations at this point,” Kuhr said.

The ongoing investigation into the incident will be conducted by the Office of Public Safety. Any further action against the employee will be determined when the investigation is concluded, Kuhr said.

In his email to students, Munro said campus police officers responded to the incident and, after learning the facts, determined the incident posed no further risk “that would make warnings to others necessary and that such warnings would create unnecessary fear.”

Munro’s email also told students that Pratt had a semi-automatic .45 caliber pistol, a .357 caliber pistol, and a knife in one of the janitors’ closets.


In a phone interview Thursday afternoon, Munro said the school was working with UM Office of Public Safety officials to gather more details about the incident.

Students often are in the building at night studying, especially near the end of the semester, but no one witnessed the incident, he said.

The building is secure at night and students must enter with swipe cards, he said.

One student inquired Thursday about why an alert wasn’t sent out about the incident, Munro said.

“One (student) was concerned, but the police followed exact protocol,” and they had Pratt detained quickly, Munro said.


Office of Public Safety Chief Gary Taylor referred calls for more information about the incident to Kuhr.

Missoula Police Detective Sgt. Travis Welsh said city police had been asked to assist in the case by taking a statement from the janitor, but had not been asked to take over the investigation.

UM policy restricts the possession and use of firearms on its campuses. Individuals authorized to carry firearms without prior approval from the president or public safety director include peace officers and federal authorities who are empowered by federal law to be armed, the policy says.

The policy also states that students living in residence halls or residence life facilities must register any firearm with the Office of Residence Life and follow mandatory requirements for possession.

Reporter Jenna Cederberg can be reached at 523-5241 or at

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

(22) Comments

  1. johnny Dollar
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    johnny Dollar - May 12, 2013 11:16 pm
    wrong again stumpy........of course the campus police are idiots, why do you think the feds were here last year?
  2. johnny Dollar
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    johnny Dollar - May 12, 2013 11:14 pm
    There's your "Prior Felony" Stump.......and yes, the morons that run security are totally derelict. This is not so much about "Weapons on campus" it is yet another example of ft necked, stubby finger idiots eating my sweaty tax dollars and NOT doing their job?

    I do not know the the chain of command at the university, maybe another viewer here knows which administrator is over security?

    No doubt, the boss needs to bring him a box for his junk and escort him off the premises, along with the the felon janitor (BTW.......isn't is a felony for a felon to possess a firearm.....hmmmmm).

    Royce........all eyes are on you stickboy........what;s going on here?
  3. ZachPatten
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    ZachPatten - May 12, 2013 10:59 pm
    Danger of working at night? I'm a law student, and I can tell you the biggest danger there is in that building at night is cranky students. I've never once had an issue about safety until I heard about this.
    Hats off to Professor Munro who was quick to inform us and give us details!
  4. stump
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    stump - May 11, 2013 5:59 pm
    I would love to hear how claiming he had a right to protect himself markes anyone a coward. The police were quoted as saying that huh? Strange, I'm pretty sure I heard the same broadcast and they never said anything of the sort. What I heard was that he had a prior arrest in which he had a concealed weapon, it wasn't an arrest for a concealed weapon. Get your story straight genious and why don't you try using some actually facts next time.
  5. Tknees
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    Tknees - May 11, 2013 3:15 pm
    Actually, on the radio the police were quoted as saying this dude-loser had a prior arrest for concealed weapon. I hope they fire him and toss him into jail with his sore foot which by the caliber of his weapon probably also blew some toes off too.
    These hick's actions help out with the fact that we do not need weapons on campus.
    And all of you that think he needed to protect himself are cowards.
  6. stump
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    stump - May 11, 2013 2:02 pm
    As a matter of fact Jonny, the U of M does background checks on all its full time time employees. You really think they go around hiring a bunch of felons? Again if it was so quickly determined that there was no need for any more unnecessary risk then why call for a linch mob? What basis do you have to cry wolf? Obviously it wasn't like he had intentions to hurt anyone and he acted alone. You really think the university police are that incompitent? Not to mention the city police who were asked to assist. Have you ever had an accident? No, your too much of a know it all for that I'm sure. Your just trying to make up a conspiracy where there is none. All he has been charged with is disorderly conduct so that tells me this really isn't as big of a deal as peope like you are trying to make it into.
  7. LilyVonShtupp
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    LilyVonShtupp - May 11, 2013 7:54 am
    So they won't release the name of the employee for privacy concerns but the Missoulian prints his name?
  8. johnny Dollar
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    johnny Dollar - May 11, 2013 3:02 am
    UM vice president of integrated communications????? Do they just make up these jobs? This is an absurd title.......that means we don't did her, send her packing.
  9. johnny Dollar
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    johnny Dollar - May 11, 2013 3:01 am
    Well Stumpy.......why don't you enlighten us? And do tell me.......has the university EVER done a background check on this spud? Does he have prior felonies. I do believe he has no business at all working in the public sector and certainly not on campus. We already pay enough really stupid administrators there.
  10. stump
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    stump - May 10, 2013 8:44 pm
    What makes any of you the expert? There's two sides to every story and we all make mistakes. Obiviously if there's no need for any further risk then somebody is blowing this way out of proportion. What ever happened to mutual respect of each other? What ever happened to getting the whole story before you go making assumptions?
  11. kwikdraw
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    kwikdraw - May 10, 2013 1:18 pm
    This man IS NOT a law abiding citizen. He chose to break the law by having a WEAPON on campus. He should be fired and jailed.
  12. Readneck
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    Readneck - May 10, 2013 11:01 am
    Arm idiots for safety!
  13. MTjusticeWatch
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    MTjusticeWatch - May 10, 2013 8:35 am
    If the campus police followed exact protocol, at what point does the protocol direct them to issue a campus alert, to protect students and staff? It typically takes some time to fully assess the discharge of a firearm and determine there is no further danger. Alerts are meant to 'alert' in a timely fashion, so the public can be prepared, take precautions perhaps. If the campus police equate an early warning 'alert' system with 'alarm', they defeat the purpose of an alert system and reduce the freedom of those on campus. While it is likely that this person acted on his own, how did the campus police confirm this in a rapid manner? When the person was placed on administrative leave, was there any effort to have this employee assessed for risk of suicide? harm to others? or is he sitting at home, stewing?
  14. pose
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    pose - May 10, 2013 8:28 am
    Don't be surprised if he gets to keep his Union job and he still gets his upcoming State Gov't raise. Though he might just get to go on Disability after shooting his own foot.
  15. Been There
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    Been There - May 10, 2013 7:43 am
    And they want to permit students to carry guns on campus? I would be more afraid of my fellow students (some of whom weren't wrapped very tight) than from an outsider causing harm. Bad idea to arm students. No guns, including the janitor's, should be allowed.
  16. walter12
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    walter12 - May 10, 2013 7:15 am
    First thing, the knife has bearing on the story at all. Secondly, most people today are aware of the danger of working at night, if not, they are fools. Thirdly, he has the right to protect himself, but in this case, it sounds like he is an idiot.
  17. frazzle
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    frazzle - May 10, 2013 6:18 am
    don't blame the gun blame the idiot.
  18. sep924
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    sep924 - May 10, 2013 2:51 am
  19. johnny Dollar
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    johnny Dollar - May 10, 2013 12:10 am mention on if the university did a background check prior to hiring Pratt OR if he has any felonies?

    Brilliant reporting.
  20. OhMT
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    OhMT - May 09, 2013 5:13 pm
    Get a life already!
  21. Gomez
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    Gomez - May 09, 2013 5:06 pm
    Guns on campus. What could go wrong? : )
  22. MiddleFinger
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    MiddleFinger - May 09, 2013 3:24 pm

    When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will accidentally shoot themselves and loved ones.

    A .45 and .357 are pretty heavy hardware. Wonder what gremlins are running around in Pratt's head. Scary with a capital F.

    Can't wait to hear how the gun lusters will spin this one. My guess is with a downward stare and silence.

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