It was a tense morning for residents in the East Missoula area while numerous law enforcement searched for an armed fugitive.
The Missoula College campus and Bonner School were under lockdown while authorities from the ground and air tried desperately tried to find the armed suspect.
Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott says the fugitive, 35-year-old William “Billy” Newhoff, was wanted by the U.S. Marshals wanted on a probation violation.
“At approximately 9:30 this morning, deputies with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office followed up on a stolen vehicle that was located at a motel in East Missoula,” McDermott said. “They later determined that the subject to be driving that vehicle was a wanted fugitive with outstanding federal arrest warrants.”
While being chased by police, Newhoff crashed his truck on the corner of Speedway Avenue and Montana Street in East Missoula.
“It’s here where the suspect crashed his vehicle and then fled on foot with a firearm, making him a danger to the Missoula community.”
Numerous law enforcement agencies such as the MCSO’s SWAT vehicle, K-9 units and Two Bear Air helicopter of Kalispell all worked together to capture the suspect.
“We called in the Missoula County Sheriffs K-9 unit, as well as a helicopter out of Kalispell and as the canine unit tracked the suspect from where he fled the vehicle on foot the helicopter searched the area and the perimeter from above.”
The University sent out a safety alert closing Missoula College for the day, as well as a portion of the Kim Williams trail near the school. Bonner Elementary School kept their perimeter secure doors locked and kids inside until the threat passed.
Deputies arrested Newhoff around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday inside a trailer in the 800 block of Speedway Avenue, an apprehension made possible by teamwork between different groups.
Newhoff has a conviction for breaking out of the Mineral County Jail in 2009, along with convictions for burglary, theft, and forgery. He is now booked in the Missoula County Detention Center. He's expected to make his initial court appearance this week.