UPDATED: Officer involved shooting, vehicle crash in Great Falls on Sunday
Great Falls Police officers responded to a disturbance Sunday evening on the east end of town that ended with a man being fatally shot by officers.
The man, identified as Charles A. Marcotte, was armed with multiple weapons, including a semiautomatic rifle, and dispatchers had received information that the man was making threats toward officers.
According to the 911 call log, released by County Attorney Josh Racki, the call came from a neighbor and the man had said he would shoot a particular deputy if he responded and when cops came he would shoot himself. The incident occurred in the Highwoods Mobile Home Park at 10th Avenue North and Morningside Circle.
The caller also told dispatchers that the man had been on the 24/7 alcohol monitoring program for about 10 years and did not want to deal with a particular deputy anymore, according to the call log.
“The suspect was prepared to and did engage our officers,” GFPD Chief Dave Bowen said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Our officers were forced to respond and unfortunately the suspect was killed.
The call came in at 6:48 p.m. and at 7:34 p.m. the dispatch log shows the man had a semiautomatic weapon and had barricaded himself behind a cooler. According to the call log, the man had the weapon poking out and shots were fired at 7:35 p.m.
Four GFPD officers were involved in the shooting, but none were injured. No other agencies were involved in the call, according to GFPD.
Bowen has asked the Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation to lead the inquiry into the incident and said he would not release the names of anyone involved on Monday.
Once the DCI investigation is complete, the case will be forwarded to the Cascade County Attorney’s Office for a coroner’s inquest.
Racki said Dick Brown, the Fergus County coroner, had been called in to serve as the coroner. He said additional information would be released during the coroner’s inquest.
Per GFPD protocol, the four officers directly involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave. Bowen noted that was not a disciplinary action, but standard practice.
“We recognize this is a difficult time for the officers involved, as we as our entire agency. We want each of them and their families to know how much we support them,” Bowen said Monday. “As peace officers, taking a human life is something we pray we are never forced to do, however, in the course of our responsibilities, this may become necessary.’
Since the call required a high priority response, police were en route with top lights and sirens. One officer who had lights and sirens on while traveling to the incident was involved in a two-vehicle injury crash.
The lone occupant of the citizen vehicle had minor injuries, but the officer had serious, but non-life threatening, injuries, according to GFPD.
Bowen said the officer involved was transported to the hospital in another patrol car, treated for injuries and released.
Troopers with the Montana Highway Patrol are investigating the crash.
GFPD said there is no further threat to the community related to the disturbance and will release updates as they become available.
“We would like to thank the supporting agencies for their assistance during the aftermath of the incident. We recognize events like this affect many families in our community; our thoughts go out to them,” Bowen said. “Lastly, we want to extend our gratitude to the community for their support.”