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Woman sentenced after incident led to Great Falls police officer being shot

Officer and suspect shot in Great Falls
Officer and suspect shot in Great Falls
Officer and suspect shot in Great Falls
Posted at 9:20 AM, Oct 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-20 11:57:59-04

Nikki Marie Snell of Harlem, who admitted to methamphetamine and gun crimes after an attempted traffic stop led to the driver shooting a Great Falls police officer, was sentenced in federal court in Great Falls on Thursday, October 19, 2023.

Snell, 38 years old, was sentenced to six years in prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said in a news release.

Snell pleaded guilty in May to possession with intent to distribute meth and to being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

Court documents stated that in mid-2022, the Russell Country Drug Task Force in Great Falls learned that Snell was trafficking meth in the community and acquired meth that agents traced to Snell.

On March 7, 2023, Great Falls police officers attempted a traffic stop of a car from Billings, but the car drove away. Officers found the car and saw a man, later identified as the driver, and Snell, the passenger, walking away from it.

GFPD officer shot after attempted traffic stop
March 7, 2023: GFPD officer shot after attempted traffic stop

Snell stopped and complied with the officers, while the driver ran away with Snell’s brown purse.

An officer chased the driver, who shot the officer several times, wounding him.

GFPD officer Tanner Lee’s bullet-resistant armor stopped the shots to the chest but his arm sustained serious injury. He underwent surgery and rehabilitation, and was released from the hospital on March 12.

The driver, Jacob Kane Bradley, was then confronted by another officer and was shot in the head. He was treated at Benefis Health System and later remanded into the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections. Bradley has felony convictions for criminal endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child, accountability for theft, and escape. Bradley was on parole from Yellowstone County at the time of the shooting.

During the chase and shooting, the driver dropped the purse. Officers recovered the purse and found a 9mm semi-automatic handgun inside.The handgun was a different firearm from the one used in the shooting.

Snell admitted that the recovered purse was hers and that she knew it contained the handgun. Snell had a federal felony conviction for assault and was prohibited from possessing firearms.