MISSOULA – Law enforcement from across Missoula County and even neighboring counties remain on the lookout for a suspect who was involved in not just one, but two overnight shootouts.
Missoula Police received the initial call shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday night, with reports of gunfire and that multiple people had been shot near the Stone Creek Lodge, at Expressway and Tanager Way.
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Missoula Police Department spokesman Sgt. Travis Welsh says when the first officers rolled up, they confirmed two people who’d been shot, and a third, uninjured person who had made the 9-1-1 call.
From the very beginning, Missoula units were looking for a Cadillac SUV, with patrol cars fanning out and looking throughout the surrounding residential area, and starting to block off traffic to preserve the crime scene and evidence on Expressway.
But after the initial police response at Expressway, the scene quickly changed, with officers going as far north as Evaro, and as far south as Lolo in attempts to locate the suspect. That’s when other agencies began to jump into the case.
“The jurisdiction changed in January. So that used to be county property. Now it’s actually city property,” Missoula County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Brenda Bassett explained.
“But we have MHP, obviously the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, Missoula Police Department, Airport police and then we have multiple agencies in neighboring counties.”
That response ramped up quickly after the report of the second, officer-involved shooting on Evaro Hill, less than an hour later, forcing investigators to not only look for the shooter but cope with the additional stress.
“There’s two active investigations that are very fresh. There’s so many different moving parts. So I think with the different jurisdictions they’re still working on a lot of those details,” Bassett told MTN News.
For a time after the shooting, Providence St. Patrick Hospital, where the first victims were taken, was on a security lockdown as a precaution.
“It’s moving very fast, so we’re just really trying to take care of that number one priority of keeping the public safe,” Bassett said.