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Shots fired during law enforcement pursuit of fleeing vehicle in Butte

Posted at 7:20 PM, Feb 15, 2024

BUTTE — A Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) trooper fired his handgun at a suspect who was fleeing from authorities in a Butte neighborhood late Wednesday evening.

The sound of shouting and gunfire interrupted a quiet Butte neighborhood late Wednesday evening when the Montana Highway Patrol was involved in a pursuit of a fleeing suspect.

“Heard what sounded like shots, all the highway patrol yelling and screaming, and I come out here and there’s one of the highway patrol vehicles literally stuck in my backyard,” said Butte eyewitness Brandon Wombolt.

Neighbors in the 1700 block of Elm Street heard the commotion about 11:15 p.m. when a vehicle fleeing from MHP got stuck in the snow near Elm Street and Home Avenue. Security video provided to MTN News by a resident near the scene captured the sights and sounds of the chaotic scene.

“Show your hands! Roll down the window, do it now! Roll down your (expletive) window. You are going to get shot!” a trooper can be heard shouting on the video.

Another eyewitness, Scott Wombolt added, “Definitely an eyeopener because the shots were in my backyard, that’s what woke me up. Yeah, that was like stuff you see on TV, it was an experience I won’t forget, I’ll tell you that.”

After several minutes of ordering the driver out of the car, video shows the sound of the vehicle’s engine revving and eventually driving away.

“He’s off, he's taking off,” a trooper can be heard shouting on the video.

And patrol continued the pursuit. Witnesses say the driver was apprehended a few blocks away.

The Division of Criminal Investigation which is overseeing this case said the trooper fired his gun after the suspect allegedly sprayed two troopers with a chemical agent during the standoff. The suspect is in custody by Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement.