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Fatal officer-involved shooting under investigation in Missoula

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Posted at 3:30 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 17:30:27-04

MISSOULA — The Montana Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting that happened early Thursday morning in Missoula.

Missoula Police Department Public Information Officer Lydia Arnold stated in a news release that an Missoula police officer stopped a driver who was suspected of driving under the influence on Great Northern Avenue. During the stop, the driver of the vehicle accelerated and attempted to flee, and a pursuit ensued.

The driver went through Missoula, including the downtown area, where the driver posed a public safety risk, which included traveling at high rates of speed, and failing to stop for red lights and stop signs, according to the news release.

Arnold says that at one point, pedestrians were put at risk while crossing at a crosswalk when the suspect failed to yield and continued through the intersection.

The chase ended on Stephens Avenue near Beckwith Street where the suspect fired a handgun, according to Arnold. The officer returned fire from his departmental handgun. Officers on the scene provided medical aid and called for EMS.

The 21-year-old man was taken to St. Patrick Hospital where he later died.

The Missoula police officer that fired their weapon is reported to have three years of law enforcement experience, but the press release did not elaborate further.

"This was a tragic event for everyone involved. The Missoula Police Department extends our condolences to the family of the subject involved,” the news release states.

Missoula Police Chief Jaeson White requested that DCI investigate the fatal shooting.

MTN News has requested an interview with the Missoula police chief about this fatal shooting.