New Year’s Eve Shooting By Sheriff’s Captain Ruled Justified [YouTube]
The shooting that occurred on New Year's Eve near Evaro involving Sheriff's Captain Tony Rio, was ruled to be justified by the Missoula County Attorney's office.
The decision, released Tuesday morning by Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst, ruled that Rio was legally justified when he fired two shots from his service revolver into a vehicle driver by Eugene Statelen, 42, as Statelen was attempting to run Rio and Deputy Jace Dicken over.
Statelen, who had been drinking and taking drugs before the incident, was struck twice, once in the shoulder and once in the back of his head. He spent three days in St. Patrick Hospital before being released to the Missoula County Jail. He appeared via video in Missoula Justice Court and was charged with three felonies, including two counts of assault on a peace officer and one count of assault with a weapon.
Statelen was represented in court by renowned Missoula attorney, Milt Datsopoulos. He has posted his $50,000 bond, and he is being monitored by a GPS device.
In the near future, the Sheriff's Department will conduct a fitness for duty review to determine when Captain Rio will go back on duty.