April 11 Regional News Briefs

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Police found 2 assault weapons, handgun after shootings

MISSOULA (AP) — Court documents indicate a man accused of killing one person and injuring three others, including a Montana Highway Patrol trooper, was armed with two assault weapons and a handgun. The Missoulian reported Tuesday that authorities say they found two AR-15-style rifles and a .45-caliber handgun in the SUV that 28-year-old Johnathan Bertsch was driving the night of the Missoula area shootings last month. Bertsch has pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide and attempted deliberate homicide. He’s being held on $2 million bail in Missoula County jail. One person died and two were injured in the first shooting. Authorities say Trooper Wade Palmer was shot in the head, face and neck while investigating the first shooting. Palmer recently regained consciousness but remains in a Salt Lake City hospital.

Montana man charged in crash that killed teen

TIOGA, N.D. (AP) — A Montana man is charged with vehicular homicide in a traffic crash that killed a 16-year-old girl and injured another teen in North Dakota. The Highway Patrol says 27-year-old Samuel Hamilton, of Belgrade, Montana, failed to stop at an intersection south of Tioga Saturday night and struck the teens’ vehicle. A 16-year-old passenger, Alexis Meduna, of Williston, was killed. The driver, 16-year-old Hayden Williams, was injured. The Bismarck Tribune says Hamilton has been charged with felony criminal vehicular homicide. He’s being held in the Williams County Correctional Center in Williston on $1 million cash bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for next month. It was not clear if Hamilton has hired an attorney to speak on his behalf.

Legislature moves to raise bar on constitutional amendments

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Republican-led Legislature has moved to make more difficult for citizens to amend the state constitution. The House endorsed a Senate resolution Thursday that allows the Legislature to vote on an initiated measure following voters’ approval. The initiative would go back to voters for final approval if it fails to win lawmakers’ endorsement. Opponents of the resolution argue the move squelches residents’ participation in the legislative process and is contrary to the will of the people. The Senate still must approve a House amendment that requires an initiated measure be placed only on a general election ballot. If Senators agree, the resolution must be approved by voters because it amends the state constitution. North Dakota is among about two dozen states with some form of an initiative process.

Man shot by deputies sentenced to 2 years for terrorizing

ALEXANDER, N.D. (AP) — A man shot by McKenzie County deputies has been sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to terrorizing and assault. Forty-two-year-old Lonny Campbell was shot last October after deputies responded to a report that he had struck and injured a woman in Alexander. The Bismarck Tribune reports court documents say Campbell refused to leave the home and pointed a gun at officers at least twice. A Northwest District judge has also ordered Campbell to service two years of probation and pay $2,000 in restitution.

Confrontation prompts city hall security questions

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A confrontation at a meeting of city commissioners in Fargo has prompted new discussions about security. Police escorted a man with a history of conflicts with local government and law enforcement out of city hall Monday after he rushed to the front of commission chambers and accused Mayor Tim Mahoney and some police officers of being involved in a theft ring. KFGO reports Mahoney says the episode “begs the question” about the need for additional security measures. He says metal detectors are among options, but are not his choice. One police officer staffs commission meetings in addition to the police chief.

Officials identify 2 killed in western Idaho trench collapse

NEW PLYMOUTH, Idaho (AP) — Authorities have identified two men who died when a trench they were working in collapsed early Wednesday. The Payette County Sheriff’s Office says 59-year-old Javier Ortega Jr. of New Plymouth, Idaho and 51-year-old Arcenio Carrillo of Vale, Oregon both died after they were trapped in the collapse in rural Payette County. The men were working for a private company and installing irrigation pipes. Payette Sheriff’s Lt. Andy Creech says investigators have not yet been able to determine what private company the men were working for, but the Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating. Creech said steel slabs normally used to hold up the walls of trenches were not in use when the 6- to 7-foot trench collapsed. The region is under a flood watch, but authorities say the collapse does not appear to be related to flooding.