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Sheriff explains hostage situation in Glasgow

Inmate shot after taking hostages at hospital
Valley County Sheriff Tom Boyer
Jonathan Ryan Hamilton
Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital
Suspect shot during hostage situation in Glasgow
Posted at 6:18 PM, Apr 11, 2023

GLASGOW — On March 29, 2023, Jonathan Ryan Hamilton underwent a routine procedure at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow. An inmate in the Valley County Detention Center, picked up on an out-of-state warrant, Hamilton had been complaining about back pain to jail staff.

“We address those best we can in our facility,” explained Valley County Sheriff Tom Boyer.

On a typical Wednesday in the quiet community of Glasgow, a detention officer took Hamilton, 47 years old, to the hospital for Physical Therapy.

The Rehabilitation Facility at FMDH is in the Southwing of the building, and according to a volunteer on campus the day of the incident, it happened in the Southwing parking entrance and parking lot.

“The evidence is pointing to the fact that this was planned. The inmate made efforts to craft a makeshift weapon out of scrap metal that was in turn used to hold two people hostages, a detention officer and a hospital staff member,” Sheriff Boyer said.

Valley County Sheriff Tom Boyer
Valley County Sheriff Tom Boyer

Boyer didn’t elaborate on how or where Hamilton acquired the scrap metal to make the weapon. That weapon was not detected by detention officers when he was taken to the hospital.

The Sheriff doesn’t feel this is a lapse in jail protocol but does raise a concern about how they prepare inmates for medical care in the future.

The jail has invested in new scanning devices to detect weapons or other materials on an inmate’s person before they leave the facility.

On Monday evening, Sheriff Boyer and the hospital administration had a meeting to discuss after-action planning for the future.

We have received no word on how that conversation went nor if any new ideas were brought to the table.

“We received tremendous support and input from the community and hospital staff during the incident… without their communication, our deputies would have never known what was going on…”

The incident began in rehab when Hamilton brandished his makeshift weapon on a hospital employee which led to them being taken hostage.

According to Sheriff Boyer, Hamilton demanded a pair of scissors to further his efforts to escape. He then walked the hospital employee and detention guard to the Southwing parking lot.

Jonathan Ryan Hamilton
Jonathan Ryan Hamilton, 47, was fatally shot after holding two people hostage in Glasgow.

“Walked to the transport vehicle where they were both put inside of that transport vehicle. Then he drove that back to the back parking lot to then change vehicles to the personal vehicle that was parked back there,” explained Boyer.

There is no indication of whose personal vehicle the hospital employee and Hamilton climbed into.

Leaving the detention guard in the Transport vehicle, Hamilton put the hospital employee in the driver’s seat and ordered that person to drive the car.

In what Boyer says is an attempt to escape, the hostage fled the vehicle and Hamilton followed, and the two were on the ground in a scuffle.

A short period had passed, and two Valley County Sheriff Deputies met the two on the ground.

“It was at that point that, my deputy made the decision that this was a life and death situation.”

One of the two deputies fired their weapon.

Following the shot, hospital staff ran to the scene, performing lifesaving efforts on Hamilton with the assistance of the deputies.

Suspect shot during hostage situation in Glasgow
Suspect shot during hostage situation in Glasgow

Hamilton was airlifted to Billings where he received advanced trauma care and later died.

The Valley County Sheriff’s Department advocates for training to ensure that deputies and law enforcement alike are prepared when they are called to duty.

“I advocate for as much training as we can get my officers and my staff to be able to face these tough situations.”

Sheriff Boyer asked to keep the name of the deputy involved private but says that he and the department have taken measures to ensure that aftercare for the officer is available to them.

He also said the deputy has gone through the evaluation offered by the state to return to duty, and morale around the department is positive.

Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital
Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital

We contacted FMDH administration for comment on the incident; they declined to be interviewed, but did offer a statement: “We at FMDH are partners with law enforcement. We are focusing on the health of the community and staff. We are ready to move forward for this incident.”

The State of Montana Department of Justice has taken over the investigation. We will update you if we get more information.

Questions or comments about this article/video? Click here to contact Ryan.


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