Missoula prosecutors have filed charges against a man accused of shooting the Lolo Creek Steak House several times last week while the building was unoccupied.
Prosecutors on Tuesday charged Austin Wells in Missoula County District Court with criminal endangerment and criminal mischief, both felonies.
According to charging documents, Missoula County Sheriff's deputies responded around 1 a.m. on Oct. 10 to a burglary alarm at the Lolo steakhouse. At the same time, dispatch was receiving reports from area residents about hearing three shots from a rifle.
Deputies found "obvious" bullet holes in three of the building's windows, although they found no evidence anyone had entered the building. Inside, they found bullets had pierced the foyer door eight feet behind the entry door, and a picture hanging approximately 25 feet behind the the entry door, according to charging documents. Across from the building, on the south of side U.S. Highway 12, deputies found three .308 bullet casings.
According to charging documents, surveillance video from a nearby apartment building showed a man carrying a backpack and an "AR style" rifle. The man left the apartment complex at 12:53 a.m. and returned at about the same time the alarm went off. A maintenance technician at the apartment complex identified Wells as the man in the video.
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Sheriff's detectives met Wells at his apartment and secured the rifle, a DPMS brand AR-10, .308 caliber, according to court filings.
Prosecutors noted in court documents Wells was "forthright and cooperative, immediately admitting to having shot the rifle in question." Wells said he had been intoxicated at the time and fired three rounds through the windows of the steakhouse after walking away from an argument with his girlfriend, according to charging documents.
The damage to the steakhouse is estimated to exceed $2,500.
Prosecutors said in Tuesday's court filings they are seeking an arrest warrant for Wells and that he be held on $10,000.