HELENA — An unidentified woman with a history of mental health issues created a few tense moments for Lewis and Clark deputies Monday morning after she appeared on her front porch brandishing what looked like a handgun.
The woman, a 52-year-old military veteran, initially refused to put the gun down when three officers arrived at her Helena valley home in the 3600 block of Satori, which is off of Canyon Ferry Road by Meadowlark, according to Sheriff Leo Dutton.
“The officers met her brother at the Mini Basket, which was about a block away, and when they arrived on scene, they could see her standing on the porch with a gun in her hand,” Dutton said. “They deployed from their vehicles with their weapons out. She’s yelling and screaming at them, they’re hollering at her, ‘Drop the gun! Drop the gun!’ and her brother is yelling, ‘It’s a BB gun! It’s a BB gun!’”
The pistol looked like a semi-automatic Glock. Dutton said the officers had about a second to decide whether it was real.
“She raised the firearm a couple times, pointing it at them, and they could hear it clicking,” Dutton said. “Typically, when people do that they are met with equal force to stop the action they’re presenting.
“That didn’t happen this time. She came within seconds of dying, but they chose not to shoot and got her to put the gun down and walk toward the officers.”
However, at the last minute she apparently had a change of heart and dove back for the weapon, which turned out to be a BB gun. Not knowing that it wasn’t real, one of the officers tried unsuccessfully to hit her with a Taser. One of the points hit her backpack, and the other missed completely.
“But they were able to subdue her and took her to St. Peter’s Hospital,” Dutton said. “This is a blessing that the woman isn’t dead.”