UPDATE: officer and suspect identified - click here
A 54-year old man died on Friday, October 6, 2023, after he allegedly confronted Cut Bank police officers while wielding a rifle and was shot by an officer.
The Montana Division of Criminal Investigation said in a news release that officers were called to the 200 block of Fifth Avenue SW for a report of a violation of an order of protection.
When officers arrived, the man got out of his vehicle and reportedly confronted them with a rifle. An officer fired his duty weapon, striking the man, who died from his injuries.
The officer was not injured during the encounter and has been placed on administrative leave, per police department policy.
A neighbor had called the police when he saw a man trying to break into a house.
The neighbor - who did want to be identified for this article - said this is not the first dispute she has seen at the residence: “Yeah, it seems like they've been having a lot of issues. I've been hearing about domestic violence issues. I don't know anything firsthand with that. But there's always cops around here.”
The neighbor said the police arrived in the back alley, where she heard the officers ask the man to drop a rifle, and then heard gunshots: “All of a sudden there was gunshots. There was three of them right in a row. And then a pause and then a fourth one.”
Authorities have not yet released the names of the suspect or the officer.
A coroner’s inquest will be conducted when the investigation is complete to examine facts and evidence pertinent to the incident.
The Glacier County Sheriff’s Office will conduct the coroner investigation. The Cut Bank Police Department is conducting an internal investigation to ensure policy and use of force guidelines were followed.
No other details have been released at this point.
DCI administrator Bryan Lockerby said in the news release: "Every investigation into an officer-involved shooting takes considerable time for us to process the scene and follow up with interviews, ballistics, and toxicology. We will be responsive, intentional, and thorough."
Cut Bank Police Chief Michael Schultz said: “We ask for patience as the investigations are conducted. As the Chief in Cut Bank, I have seen the impact incidents like this can have in a small community. I also know how well small towns come together and support each other in a crisis. I ask that you please keep those involved, as well as their families, in your thoughts and prayers.”
We will update you as we get more information.