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Man kills himself during traffic stop in East Helena

Sheriff says no officers fired their weapons during the incident
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Posted at 1:08 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-06 13:58:03-05

EAST HELENA — Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says that a man died after shooting himself following a traffic stop in East Helena on Thursday.

Sheriff Dutton says that a law enforcement officer stopped a vehicle that police were looking for in response to a reported domestic incident in the Helena Valley.



Dutton says officers negotiated with the man for about a half hour before he fatally shot himself.

Because the incident is considered an "in custody death," the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation and the Anaconda-Deer Lodge coroner will conduct the investigation.

Dutton says no officers fired their weapons during the incident.

The identity of the man has not yet been released, and no other details have been released at this point; we will update you as we get more information.



(1st Report, 12:13 p.m.) U.S. Highway 12 is closed in East Helena after what law enforcement is calling an "incident" on Thursday. Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton confirmed that officers are at the scene of the incident near the intersection with Lane Avenue. He also confirmed a gun had been fired, but said there is no current threat to the public.

The East Helena School District posted on Facebook that its schools had been on a “soft lockdown” because of a dangerous situation; the district announced at around 11:30 a.m. that the lockdown had been lifted.

Dutton said the highway will likely remain closed for several hours while the investigation continues. He said drivers in the area will be detoured onto Main Street in East Helena until the road is reopened.

No other details have been released yet; we will update you if we get more information.