State DCI Releases Initial Report on Big Sky Shooting and Crash
Anastasia Burton with the Montana Department of Justice released the following statement about the shooting incident at Big Sky High School and ended with a crashed vehicle at a local car dealership and a juvenile high school student in custody.
HELENA – At the request of the Missoula Police Department, agents with the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) are investigating a shooting in Missoula involving a Big Sky High School student.
On Friday, March 16, the school resource officer (SRO) and school staff were conducting an investigation after receiving a tip that a student brought a gun to school. While a male student was being questioned, he ran away into the parking lot and was chased by the SRO. The student jumped into his vehicle and appeared to attempt to run over the SRO, prompting the officer to fire his duty weapon around 12:45 pm. The student drove down South Avenue and then Reserve Street with Missoula Police officers in pursuit, until he crashed into a vehicle on the lot of Denny Menholt University Honda, located a little more than a mile away from the school. The uninjured student, 17, was taken into custody by Missoula Police Department officers. He is being held at the local juvenile detention center.
A handgun suspected to be involved in the incident was found by a citizen along the chase route near South Avenue and Old Fort Road. The handgun has been recovered by law enforcement.
Yesterday, Missoula Police Chief Mike Brady requested the Montana Department of Justice’s DCI take the lead on investigating this incident. DCI agents are on scene conducting interviews and processing evidence. The Missoula Police Department is assisting in the investigation; the Montana Highway Patrol assisted with crash scene investigation.
The SRO, a Missoula Police Department officer assigned to Big Sky High School, is currently on paid administrative leave per department policy pending the completion of DCI’s investigation. The Missoula Police Department is also conducting its own internal review.
Once DCI’s investigation is complete, the case file will be sent to the Missoula County Attorney’s Office.