HELENA — Early Saturday morning, a joint law enforcement task force, using members from Lewis and Clark County and Gallatin County, was able to detain a man that was allegedly firing shotgun rounds indiscriminately in the valley northeast of Helena according to the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office (LCSO).
LCSO Sheriff Leo Dutton told MTN, law enforcement was notified of the man shooting the firearm late Friday night and said they've been in contact with him in the past.
"We got calls from quite a few neighbors saying, 'Hey, bullets are whizzing over our house,' and we have had many dealings with this individual before," said Dutton. "I did authorize the deployment of the SWAT team. We came out and negotiators came out and negotiators made contact right away and attempted to talk to the individual."
Shortly thereafter the man exited the residence located on the 3600 block of Strandberg Drive armed with a shotgun and pistol, the SWAT team on-site attempted to incapacitate the man with a less-than-lethal tactic, but the suspect re-entered the home and allegedly began to shoot at law enforcement. Dutton confirmed that his team returned fire and, while no one was injured in the incident, it was still not how they hoped things would go.
"No one was injured. It was nip and tuck with my deputies because he was right in that area. He was close enough that it is uncomfortable to talk about how close it was. So, it's a matter of inches, that we could have had some fatalities and makes for a long night. I am glad the outcome is as it as it turned out to be. We don't want to hurt anybody. And I don't want my staff hurt course," said Dutton.
Dutton said while Lewis and Clark County was the lead enforcement agency for this incident, many thanks go to the various emergency service that responded.
The suspect is in custody and we will provide more information when charges are issued.