Aug. 20 Montana News Briefs

Monday, August 20, 2018

Man dies in officer-involved shooting in Great Falls

GREAT FALLS (AP) — A man was killed in an officerinvolved shooting at a trailer park in Great Falls. Police Sgt. Jim Wells said officers responded to a disturbance just before 7 p.m. Sunday and encountered a man with a gun. Officials say he brandished it at officers. Witness Ken Milovich told the Great Falls Tribune that officers ordered the man to drop the weapon, then “there was a bunch of gunfire.” KFBB-TV reports the state Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting. The name of the man who was shot and the officer involved haven’t been released. Another officer suffered serious, but non-life threatening injuries, in a two-vehicle crash while driving to the scene. The person in the other vehicle had minor injuries.

Bullock says he’d support semiautomatic weapons ban

HELENA (AP) — Montana’s Democratic governor is saying for the first time that he’d support a ban on some semiautomatic weapons.Gov. Steve Bullock’s comments came in response Sunday to a question posed to him on CNN’s State of The Union. Host Jake Tapper asked Bullock if he would support an “assault weapons ban, a ban on some forms of semiautomatic weapons.” Bullock answered, “You know, I would, Jake.” Bullock spokeswoman Ronja Abel says Bullock is a gun owner and a hunter who doesn’t see the need for certain kinds of firearms for hunting or personal safety. She says Bullock is doing what most Americans are doing in reflecting and trying to find a way to stop mass shootings. Abel did not immediately respond to a query on which firearms Bullock would support banning.

Snail that causes waterfowl die offs found in Montana lake

HELENA (AP) — Montana wildlife officials say a kind of snail that’s native to Europe and can lead to the death of waterfowl has been found in a lake in Pondera County. Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said the faucet snails were discovered by a fisherman who turned them in for identification. They were found in Lake Frances near Valier in northcentral Montana. The spiral-shelled creatures grow up to a half-inch long and host parasites that kill waterfowl. They have been blamed in several die-offs of American coots on Georgetown Lake since 2006. Lake Frances is privately owned but open to recreational access. The snails also have been found in Smith Lake and McWennegar Slough near Kalispell, Rattlesnake Reservoir near Billings, Upsata Lake near Ovando and the Flathead River.

Montana to install drug collection boxes across state

HELENA (AP) — Montana officials are using a federal grant to install prescription drug collection boxes in pharmacies across the state. The collection boxes would allow people to safely dispose of unused medication. State officials say it will help fight opioid abuse and prevent drug overdoses. There are now 22 collection boxes in Montana’s 360 pharmacies. The $730,000 grant will increase the number of boxes to 212. The Journal of the American Medical Association says between 60 percent and 92 percent of people nationwide don’t finish the painkillers prescribed to them, and less than 10 percent dispose of them safely. Zoe Barnard of the state Department of Public Health and Human Services tells Lee Newspapers of Montana that officials want to make disposing of the drugs as easy as possible so people will actually do it.

Last body recovered from fatal Montana boating accident

BILLINGS (AP) — Searchers have recovered the body of the last victim of a Montana boating accident. Officials with the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area say the body of 35-year-old Christian Scoville of Billings was recovered Friday evening in Bighorn Lake. The Aug. 11 accident also killed 59-year-old Tammy Scoville and 36-year-old Nathan Kelly, also of Billings. A 63-year-old man, Robert Ludwick, was injured. Tammy Scoville’s body was recovered on Aug. 12 and Kelley’s body was recovered Wednesday along with the sunken boat. Recreation area spokeswoman Christy Fleming says the investigation into the fatal accident continues. The lake closures that were in effect during the search have been lifted.

Man pleads guilty to bat attack on Special Olympics athlete

MISSOULA (AP) — A 27-year-old Missoula man has pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon after police said he attacked a Special Olympics athlete with a baseball bat, causing a severe head injury. Paul Ekstedt entered his plea Thursday. Prosecutors are recommending a 20-year sentence with eight suspended, for a sentence of 12 years. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 20. Prosecutors say a witness told police that she, Ekstedt and the 37-year-old victim were on their way to dinner on June 14 when Ekstedt struck the victim in the head, knocking him to the floor. The victim underwent emergency surgery and his father said he was on a ventilator for a time. Witnesses said there had been no argument but that Ekstedt had been acting strangely for the previous 10 days.