Man charged in connection with Nov. 24 bounty hunter incident

Updated 2 p.m. Jan. 3

The Cascade County Attorney’s Office has charged a man in connection with the Nov. 24 bounty hunter incident in Great Falls.

Scott Adam was charged with felony counts of assault with a weapon, reasonable apprehension; criminal endangerment; and misdemeanor counts of obstructing a peace officer; resisting arrest and failure to aid a peace officer.

Adam turned himself in Dec. 31, posted bond and was released about an hour later, according to the Great Falls Police Department.

His bond was $50,000, according to GFPD.

According to the charging document, the GFPD was dispatched to a report of a collision and disturbance at the intersection of 9th Street North and 8th Avenue North.

GFPD responds to crash, bounty hunter incident on Nov. 24

Dispatch advised officers that “there was a big crash, that one of the involved individuals was armed with a gun and that the individual was pointing the gun at the man in the car,” according to court documents.
911 callers told dispatchers that one of the individuals had a badge on his pants, but officers were not advised of any law enforcement operating in the area at the time of the call, according to court documents.

When GFPD officers arrived on scene, they found a white car with passenger side damage at the northwest corner of the intersection, blocking westbound traffic on 8th Avenue North and it was positioned with the front end pointing southeast, according to court documents.
Officers also found a red Ford SUV to the west of the white vehicle that was stopped diagonally across the center line with its front end pointing northwest, according to the court documents.

Officers made contact with the people involved, who they identified as Adam, the defendant; Dustin Deboo, the victim of the assault with a weapon and criminal endangerment; and Travis Phillippi.

Adam was wearing a tactical style vest that read “agent” on the back, according to court documents.
Officers saw Adam standing near the front driver’s side door of the white vehicle and Deboo lying on the ground handcuffed.

Officers spoke with Adam and found that Deboo was being taken into custody for bond violations and that he had run from bond agents the previous day, according to court documents. Deboo had apparently cut off his ankle monitoring device the night before and Adam said he was upset Deboo had run from him, according to court documents. There was also an altercation between Deboo and the bond agents at WalMart around 8 p.m. Nov. 23, according to court documents. They also detained a woman connected to Deboo against her will and made her go in a truck with them, according to court documents.

During the exchange, officers told Adam and Phillippi to go to their vehicle. Phillippi immediately complied and walked away, but Adam remained in his position, according to court documents.

Adam didn’t assist law enforcement, didn’t follow commands, and struggled with officers who suffered abrasions and bruises, according to court documents. Adam was taken into custody at the scene.

Officers spoke to Bill Rupnow of E-Z Bail Bonds who said that Deboo’s bond was being revoked. Rupnow said that Adam worked for him and was helping find people, according to court documents.

Officers requested assistance from the Montana Highway Patrol, which completed an accident investigation.

The MHP investigation concluded that the red Ford SUV operated by Adam was driving head-on into traffic in the eastbound lane of 8th Avenue North in the 800 block, then swerved from the eastbound lane into the westbound lane and collided with the white vehicle driven by Deboo, which had swerved from the eastbound lane to the westbound lane, resulting in the red Ford striking the white vehicle on the passenger side, according to court documents.

On Nov. 25, officers saw a video of the incident that a woman at posted to Facebook. The video showed Adam and Phillippi taking Deboo into custody during which Adam yells commands and profanity at Deboo, who is seen attempting to exit the vehicle with his hands up when Adam deploys what appeared to be less than lethal projectiles at Deboo, according to court documents.

Phillippi then deploys a taser on Deboo and once Deboo is on the ground, they tell Deboo he’s going to be shot, according to court documents.

Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Troy Downing has been asking the Legislature to consider more regulations for bounty hunters as there are few and there have been several recent incidents in recent years, including a fatality during one attempted apprehension.

That incident occurred in Butte in December 2021 in which a person who was not the fugitive was shot and killed in his home, according to the Montana Standard.

There was also a 2017 incident during which a team of six bounty hunters entered a Lolo family’s home because a man owed the bond company $115 after missing a court hearing. The bounty hunters drew guns on the man, his wife and daughter, according to the Standard.