The acting Havre chief of police said a gunman who shut down downtown Havre for more than 24 hours may have been a resident of Cut Bank.
Acting Chief Gabe Matosich said the information had not been confirmed by 8:30 this morning, but “the preliminary information is he was residing in Cut Bank.”
Fergus County Coroner R.J. “Dick” Brown is preparing the coroner’s report that will list the cause of death of the man, who apparently shot himself at 7:42 p.m. Monday after a nearly 21-hour standoff with police outside of the US Bank building on the 200 Block of 1st Street.
Brown said this morning he was still trying to locate and contact next of kin of the suspect and could not release any information this morning, He said he expected to issue a press release later today.
Matosich said that the shot rang out at 7:42 p.m. Monday while negotiators were still trying to persuade the man to put down his gun. With no law enforcement officers firing their weapons, it is apparent the man shot himself, but Matosich said they are waiting for the coroner’s report before confirming that.
The incident started about 11 p.m. Sunday when a Havre police officer tried to initiate a traffic stop for a minor traffic violation, Matosich said Monday night. The suspect fled, leading to a short car pursuit, then stopped his vehicle and left. He pulled his gun on the officer, leading to the standoff that shut down 1st Street in Havre from 1st to 5th avenues and shut down businesses on 1st and Main streets.
Matosich said the professionalism of and cooperation between law enforcement involved in the standoff and negotiations — local, county and federal law enforcement from Hill, Liberty and Cascade counties — and from local and state entities like Havre Public Works and Montana Department of Transportation was amazing.
He said numerous local businesses also helped, with businesses not only shutting down during the standoff but businesses also providing food, water and porta potties for the officers during the standoff.
Matosich said the reason for the standoff still is unknown. Officers obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s vehicle but he had not seen a report on the results of that search by this morning.
After the suspect was transported to Northern Montana Hospital by paramedics who were on the scene of the standoff — he was pronounced dead at the hospital — Montana Division of Criminal Investigation officers arrived in Havre to help investigate the scene, which was completed about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The investigation of the incident is ongoing, Matosich said.