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Bozeman Police arrest man wielding machete near Warming Center

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Posted at 12:42 PM, May 23, 2024

BOZEMAN — A man was arrested after confronting Bozeman Police officers with a machete and refusing commands late Wednesday night, May 23, 2024.

Luke Menders, 36, was arraigned in Gallatin County Justice Court Thursday on two charges of assault on a peace officer.

Charging documents say two officers with the Bozeman Police Department were conducting a patrol check in the area of Wheat Drive around 11:15 p.m. on Wednesday. The officers spotted Menders on the sidewalk and stopped at an intersection to allow him to cross.

Menders allegedly turned to face the officers as he crossed the intersection and produced a machete while displaying “pre-assault indicators” that included pacing back and forth and rubbing the weapon, according to court documents.

The officers reportedly got out of their vehicle and commanded Menders to stop, to which he allegedly replied “Nope” and continued walking with the weapon displayed toward occupied tents, campers, and the HRDC Warming Center.

According to charging documents, the officers again commanded Menders to stop. Menders asked “For what reason?” and became agitated, throwing the machete a few feet away from him.

One of the officers reportedly attempted to deploy her Taser multiple times but was not able to incapacitate Menders. He fled from the officers on foot briefly before turning to face them again.

Court documents say Menders lay on the ground and began punching the sidewalk, yelling at officers, “I have a machete on my side!” He allegedly ignored a command not to reach for the weapon, instead grabbing it and tossing it on the ground next to him.

Menders reportedly continued to reach for the area of his waistband before officers were able to take him into custody and clear him of remaining weapons. Charging documents did not specify what additional weapons Menders was carrying.

Menders was taken to Bozeman Health Deaconess Regional Medical Center for a precautionary medical evaluation, according to court documents.

In court on Thursday, Menders was not compliant, kept interrupting proceedings, and had to be removed from the courtroom. Prosecutors alleged he has numerous previous charges.

Menders’ bail was set at $25,000, and he is next due in court on June 7, 2024.