NewsCrime Watch


Authorities release names of suspect, victims in Great Falls casino shooting

Posted at 10:58 AM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 14:39:51-05

GREAT FALLS - The names of the three people who were killed at a casino in Great Falls on Tuesday have been released.

Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said the three have been identified as Cheryl Ann Larson, 53; Wendy Joanne Carlson, 60; and Steve Mitchell Hale, 61. All were from the Great Falls area.

A fourth victim remains hospitalized at Benefis Health System. A family member told MTN News that he was shot in the face and managed to take himself to Benefis. She said he underwent surgery Tuesday night and is doing well.

"He will have a few more surgeries and the have his jaw wired shut for approximately six weeks," she said. "Hospitalized in ICU, if all goes well and according to plan he should be home in about a week."

Ricky Lee Gardipee has been identified as the suspect in the three murders. Petroleum County Coroner RJ Brown released the name on Wednesday morning.

Gardipee, 41, was shot by Deputy U.S. Marshalls on 26th Street South near 7th Avenue South at about 5:40 a.m. His body was taken to the Montana Crime Lab in Billings for autopsy on Wednesday.

The Montana Department of Corrections website shows that Gardipee had convictions in Cascade County and Lewis & Clark County for robbery, theft, burglary, assault on a peace officer, forgery, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, and failure to register as a violent offender.

Authorities have not released information about the possible motive for the deaths, such as an attempted robbery or other reasons, and are continuing to investigate.

RELATED - 3 found dead inside Great Falls casino, suspect killed by police