KALISPELL — Officials in northwestern Montana have released the names of a homicide victim and the suspected killer who was shot and killed by officers after a pursuit that crossed from Flathead County into Lake County.
Flathead County deputies found Maxine L. Heil, 62, dead of a gunshot wound in a residence west of Kalispell at about 11:40 a.m. Tuesday, the coroner's office said.
Officers were searching for the suspect, Richard L. Mason, 59, when a deputy spotted his vehicle at about 2 p.m. and tried to perform a traffic stop, Flathead County officials said.
Mason led officers on a pursuit that ended when his vehicle struck spike strips south of Woods Bay in Lake County. Officers say Mason fired at Deputy Matthew Vander Ark, who returned fire along with Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jerry Ren. Mason died at the scene.
Mason was a tenant of Heil's, but a motive for the shooting is still not known, Sheriff Brian Heino told the Daily Inter Lake.
The Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the officer-involved shooting while the Flathead County sheriff's office is investigating Heil's death.
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