HELENA – At the request of the Meagher County Sheriff’s Office, agents with the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation are assisting with an investigation into a shooting that occurred in White Sulphur Springs yesterday evening.
The initial investigation indicates that a 42-year-old resident of the area had failed a mandatory chemical screening. The screening was part of his conditions of being released on bond for several charges, including felony DUI, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement. He was seen heading out of town in his vehicle by a sheriff’s deputy. The deputy initiated a traffic stop, approached the vehicle, and ordered the driver to exit. The deputy and nearby witnesses then heard a gunshot from inside the car, and the suspect died on scene. No shots were fired by the deputy.
“The initial indication is that the suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” said Bryan Lockerby, administrator of the Division of Criminal Investigation. “An autopsy will be conducted to specify the formal cause of death.”
Because the death occurred during a traffic stop involving law enforcement, it is being treated as an in-custody death. In-custody deaths normally result in a coroner’s inquest, to be convened at a later date. The case is still under investigation and the name of the deceased will not be released until relatives have been notified.
Local law enforcement agencies routinely request assistance from the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation when specific expertise is needed or when an outside agency is desired as a neutral investigator.