Standoff ends, gunman dead
April 8, 2014
The standoff at the US Bank building in Havre between multiple law agencies and a man threatening to shoot himself ended after nearly 21 hours with the armed man's death.
The shot was fired at 7:42 p.m. Monday, acting Havre Police Chief Gabe Matosich said. The chief wouldn't say the man committed suicide, but he added no law enforcement fired a shot.
The man was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name has yet to be released by the Havre Police Department.
The standoff began around 11 p.m. Sunday when a Havre officer attempted to make a traffic stop for a minor traffic violation. The man stopped his car and then fled the vehicle after a short pursuit, Matosich said.
The armed man stopped in a nook of the US Bank building at 235 1st St., where he had a handgun held to his head while officers attempted to talk him down with their own guns drawn. Police were heard negotiating with the man, telling him they would put their guns away if he put his away and offering to take him to the hospital to a bed and food.
Negotiations went on for hours, into the next evening.
Many law agencies, including the FBI, Montana Highway Patrol, Hill County Sheriff's Office and the Border Patrol assisted in surrounding the man and closing off downtown streets. By the end of the situation, an area from 1st to 5th avenues on 1st Street to the north entrances of 2nd Street were closed off. Traffic was redirected down 2nd Street and some semi-trailers were directed down Main Street.
Many businesses were closed throughout the day and some residents in the closed-off area were asked not to leave their homes.
A sniper team was spotted on the roof of the Palace Bar, which is directly across the street from the crime scene. A makeshift headquarters was erected in the parking lot west of the US Bank building.
Law officers could be seen sneaking up in teams behind a riot shield against the western wall of the building facing 1st Street, where the man was positioned. The first time this tactic was used, the armed man spotted them and backed up. The officer with the riot shield followed suit. This tactic was used at least four times, all of which met with the same result, though the details of the circumstances at the time the shot was fired are unclear at this time.
After a special unit from Great Falls arrived on scene some time after 6:30 p.m. Monday to assist with the negotiations, everything seemed to be going well, Matosich said.
"All of a sudden, a shot rang out," Matosich said.
The HPD said an incident report will be released once the crime scene investigation is concluded. The Havre Daily will continue to report any details that are released.
"A huge thank you to all these guys - they really pulled together ... ," Matosich said. "A huge thank you to the Havre community."