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Shooting Chase

Missoula City Police officers Meagan Bilbrey, left, and Jeff Lloyd secure a portion of the parking lot at Big Sky High School Friday afternoon where shots were reportedly fired after a school resource officer chased a fleeing student into the parking lot.

The shots fired Friday afternoon in the Big Sky High School parking lot came from the gun of the school's resource officer, not from the student he was chasing, investigators said.

The officer shot at the fleeing student’s car after the student allegedly attempted to run him over Friday, according to an initial investigation report released by the Montana Department of Justice.

The department’s Division of Criminal Investigation has taken over investigation of Friday’s incident, which started in the parking lot of the high school and ended after the student crashed his car near the intersection of Reserve and Brooks streets.

Missoula Police Chief Mike Brady asked DCI to take over because the school resource officer is a Missoula police officer. He has not been named.

According to DCI’s initial report, the school resource officer and Big Sky staff were investigating a report on Friday that a student brought a gun to school. As a student was being questioned, he ran into the parking lot and was followed by the resource officer.

The student got into his car and attempted to run over the officer, according to the release. That's when the officer shot at the student's car.

The student fled the parking lot, pursued by police, until he crashed in the parking of the Denny Menholt Honda dealership on Reserve Street. The 17-year-old student was not injured and was taken into custody. He is being held in juvenile detention in Missoula.

A handgun believed to have been involved in the incident was found along the chase route on South Avenue.

The school resource officer, per protocol, was placed on paid administrative leave until the Department of Justice investigation is complete. The officer was not identified by state investigators.

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Law and Justice Reporter

Crime reporter for the Missoulian.