Missoula police say a man committed suicide as an officer tried to serve an arrest warrant at an apartment where a kitten was found badly abused over the weekend. A Missoula police officer who had gone to Gary Bassett's house to arrest him called 911 at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday to report a shot had been fired in the house, but not by officers. Officers and SWAT team members then gathered outside the apartment. Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said a felony animal cruelty charge had been filed against Bassett, and an arrest warrant issued. Officers were serving that warrant when the standoff began. Authorities did not release the victim's name or confirm that he was the suspect in the animal abuse case. But, according to charging documents filed Thursday, Bassett had made repeated threats to end his life during earlier police interviews and said he suffered from clinical depression. Missoula County will take over the investigation because of the police department's involvement and because the death took place as police were trying to arrest a suspect. Pol i c e we re cal l ed t o Bassett's residence Sunday night, where they found a limp and near-dead kitten. They say the owner of the 4-month-old kitten had allegedly tried to drown her in the toilet and had apparently thrown the animal against the wall or stomped on her back, crushing her pelvis. The kitten was euthanized Wednesday after vets determined it had a broken spine.
Police try to serve warrant on kitty abuse, man kills self
Published: Friday, February 5th, 2010
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