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Missoula officer run over by car, suspect arrested

0MISSOULA (AP) — A parolee suspected of running over a Missoula police officer who was trying to arrest her is being held under guard in the hospital where she is being treated for a gunshot wound, the Missoula County sheriff's office said Tuesday.

Dawnette Eaton, 47, was shot when Lt. Rich Stepper fired at her car after she backed over another police officer, Deni Poling, on Monday night at a fast-food restaurant and dragged Poling under the vehicle, police said. Poling's injuries included a fractured hip, fractured leg and internal injuries, Police Chief Mark Muir said.

Eaton drove off but was found at an apartment several hours later by officers following up on a tip and taken to the hospital.

Poling had surgery at St. Patrick Hospital Monday night for non-life-threatening injuries, Muir said.

Eaton underwent surgery early Tuesday for a gunshot wound to her arm, officials said. Her injuries were not considered life-threatening, officials said. Her condition has not been released.

The confrontation happened at about 9:30 p.m. Monday when officers were called to a McDonald's restaurant after someone reported Eaton was there. Eaton was wanted for violating her parole, Muir said.

When officers approached the car, it backed up, striking and dragging the female officer. A male officer fired one shot at the car before it drove away.

"It's the thing that you hope never happens," Muir said. "You don't like to see any member of the police department have to use deadly force, nor do you want to see deadly forced used against the officers."

Sheriff's detective Jason Johnson said the suspect's car was found a few blocks away from the restaurant.

"A friend came and picked her up and took her to the house where she was found" and could face charges, Johnson said. "She knowingly went to the aid of a friend running from law enforcement."

Muir declined to speculate on the charges Eaton faces. Johnson said charges wouldn't be filed until Eaton is released from the hospital.

The male officer, whose name hasn't been released, was placed on administrative leave while the sheriff's office investigates the shooting.

Eaton's criminal record includes a five-year prison sentence for a 1993 drug conviction in Silver Bow County. In 2003, she was sentenced to two years for theft in Missoula County and two for forgery in Gallatin County.

The Missoula shooting happened a day after a Billings police officer fired nine shots after a man arrested in a standoff escaped handcuffs, jumped into the front seat of an idling police car and drove toward the officer, hitting him. Billings police said Monday it was not clear if Daniel Brawley, 29, died of the gunshot wound or from injuries suffered when the patrol car hit other vehicles Sunday afternoon.

 

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