Two men have been arrested, accused of robbing Deano's Casino early Friday morning, taking a Washington family hostage and firing at police.
Thomas Earl Dempsey, 36, was booked into Missoula County Jail at 9:18 p.m. Friday, charged with robbery and aggravated kidnapping. Missoula County Sheriff's Office public information officer Brenda Bassett said he was taken into custody after leaving a motel on North Reserve Street and entering a nearby business.
Nick West, 38, was booked at 4:29 a.m. Saturday, charged with aggravated kidnapping. He was arrested near Mullan Road and North Reserve Street, also at a business.
Both are scheduled to appear in court at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Additional charges may be pending, Bassett said.
"After receiving a tip and working closely with city officers and the FBI, our detectives and deputies were able to locate the two suspects," Bassett said in a news release.
The pair are accused of taking a family hostage after robbing Deano's Casino early Friday morning.
"We know it was an unsettling time for the community, and as law enforcement officers we consider this one version of a happy ending," Sheriff T.J. McDermott said in the news release. "Most importantly, no one was hurt and secondly, these two suspects are now behind bars. We have to applaud the great work of our detectives who worked tirelessly throughout the night to get this accomplished. I could not be more proud of our officers and our law enforcement friends, who all came to the aid of this family during a very scary time."
MCSO Patrol Sgt. Jon Stineford said on Saturday morning that while the investigation is ongoing, "we want to stress that the Sheriff's Office doesn't feel there's any further risk to public safety from these two robbery suspects."
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The casino was robbed at gunpoint at about 3:30 a.m. Friday, after which the suspects left in a stolen car.
In a news conference Friday afternoon, McDermott said the family was getting gas nearby and saw the robbery. They called 911 and were asked to pull over and wait for an officer to come, at which point Cpt. Tony Rio said their SUV's doors were pulled open and the suspects took them hostage.
A chase began with law enforcement through Missoula. The SUV stopped twice, once to let the family's 12-year-old boy out, the second to release the grandmother and 14-year-old girl. With the parents still inside, law enforcement said the SUV made a U-turn and the suspects fired at the pursuing officers. Law enforcement pulled back, and lost sight of the SUV in downtown.
The parents and the SUV were found near Evaro Hill at about 5:20 a.m. Friday, but the suspects were gone.
In 2014, Dempsey was convicted of attempted burglary, theft and accountability for burglary in Lake County, according to the Montana Department of Corrections. The Valley Journal reported that in April 2014, he pleaded not guilty to four felonies in relation to a multi-day crime spree in Ronan that involved burglary, a stolen car and stealing firearms. Dempsey was on conditional release at the time of Friday's incident, and was accordingly charged with a violation.
West was convicted of assault with a weapon and assault on a peace officer in Hill County in 2007, according to the DOC. He also was convicted of partner/family member assault and tampering witnesses and informants in Yellowstone County in 2012. West was on parole as of Friday, and was subsequently charged with parole violation.
Dempsey is being held on $100,000 bail. West is being held on $250,000 bail.