By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Blaine County sheriff's deputy Joshua Raven Chief Rutherford was killed during a struggle after a foot chase through a field, according a charging document filed in court.
Lawrence Dean Jackson Jr., 25, of Harlem was charged Saturday with one count each of deliberate homicide and attempted deliberate homicide in the shooting death of Rutherford and the wounding of deputy Loren Janis.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Blaine County Justice Court, Janis and Rutherford were dispatched from separate locations to a domestic disturbance call in Harlem.
Rutherford, who was off-duty, responded from his home and arrived on scene before Janis.
When Janis arrived, Rutherford was chasing Jackson through a field near Harlem just south of U.S. Highway 2, the charging document said. Janis had difficulty locating Rutherford due to the darkness until he spotted a flashlight, the criminal complaint said.
Janis notified dispatch of his whereabouts, then approached Rutherford's location, the document said.
"A struggle ensued during which Deputy Janis heard three gunshots," the complaint said. "Deputy Janis realized he had been shot in the left arm and Deputy Rutherford informed him that he had also been shot."
Jackson attempted to flee on foot and continued to fire at Janis, the document said. Janis returned fire, though Jackson was not wounded in the exchange. Jackson surrendered and was taken into custody, the complaint said.
Rutherford was pronounced dead at the scene.
Harlem volunteer firefighter Scott Baker was one of the first to arrive after the shooting. After returning home from an eighth-grade graduation in Chinook, Baker said he heard Janis' pleas for help over his emergency radio.
"I heard Loren saying 'officer down' and (that) he needed help now," Baker said in an interview today. "I grabbed my gun and went."
When he arrived several moments later, Baker said, he saw Janis' patrol car facing east along the highway, partially in the ditch. Janis was leaning on the car with his gun aimed toward a field on the south side of the road, Baker said. He could see blood on Janis' shoulder. Harlem resident Fred Green was also on scene, Baker added.
Jackson was about 50 feet away standing in the field, Baker said. He was partially illuminated by a spotlight from Janis' patrol car, he said.
"He was standing out there hollering. Loren said he had shot Josh," Baker said. He added that he did not know Rutherford was also at the scene until Janis told him.
"It was out of hand," he said. "We needed to get Josh medical attention right away, but we had to get this guy taken care of first." Janis was yelling at Jackson to "drop the gun," Baker said. Baker added that he could not see if Jackson was holding a weapon.
"I scoped him out. I couldn't see him all that well and I couldn't see what he had," he said.
Then he heard Green yelling that Jackson had dropped the gun, Baker said. Green ran out through the field past Jackson to where Rutherford lay, he said.
"He didn't hesitate," Baker said of Green. "He risked 'er all. It was pretty brave in my book."
Jackson stripped down before stumbling toward Janis and Baker, he said.
"He started ripping his clothes off," he said. "When he got to us he was only wearing his boxer shorts."
Baker cuffed Jackson while Janis held a gun on him, Baker said.
The firefighter said he considered shooting Jackson while he was in the field, but chose not to. He said Jackson ultimately made his decision for him by surrendering.
"He was making the decision whether to live or not," Baker said. "He was considering it and his final decision was (not to be shot)."
Baker said he feels good about his decision, but is deeply saddened by the situation.
"It's hard to feel good knowing that Josh was killed. He's lying up on a hill by himself," he said. "A young man got killed. It's a tragedy."
Jackson's surrender marked the end of a series of violent events Thursday night. Jackson is accused of biting off part of a man's face prior to the fatal shooting.
Jackson is charged with biting part of the nose, an ear and the pinky finger of William Gone of Fort Belknap, Fort Belknap Police Chief Rob Williams said Tuesday.
Just prior to the shooting in Harlem, tribal law officials were looking for Jackson for the alleged attack on Gone. The assault occurred while Jackson and Gone were driving around on the reservation, Williams said.
''That's where some of the body parts were found - part of the ear that got bit off,'' Williams said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.