Monday, December 11, 2023

Deputy involved in shooting back on the job

The Western News | March 2, 2021 7:00 AM

The deputy who shot and injured a man during a domestic disturbance call has returned to work after taking paid administrative leave, officials said last week.

Undersheriff Brad Dodson of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said an investigative team, made up of law enforcement from outside Lincoln County, had reviewed the deputy’s actions.

Officers with the Flathead County Sheriff's Office and Kalispell Police Department assessed the case. Montana Highway Patrol also participated in the investigation of the scene of the shooting.

Lincoln County Sheriff Office officials said they did not have a report of the investigation on hand as of March 1.

In a previous interview, Sheriff Daren Short said it was customary for law enforcement to call in an outside agency to investigate cases involving officer shootings.

Tristan Assance, 32, the man who was injured during the shooting, faces charges stemming from the disturbance in Lincoln County District Court and was arraigned last month. Assance pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of assault with a weapon and two misdemeanor counts of criminal destruction or tampering with a communications device.

According to a law enforcement press release, deputies responded to a home on Fallen Bear Lane around 8:30 a.m., Jan. 14. Neighbors recalled hearing a short series of gunshots soon after.

Libby Volunteer Ambulance transported Assance to Cabinet Peaks Medical Center. ALERT Helicopter then took him to Kalispell Regional Medical Center. No one else was injured during the incident, according to Short.

Law enforcement officers brought Assance to the Lincoln County Detention Center after he was treated for his injury.

While court documents omitted the sheriff’s office’s response, they detail the crimes Assance allegedly committed the day before the shooting.

After discovering he had violated the terms of his parole in Canada, Assance became agitated on Jan. 13. The victim of the domestic disturbance told Detective David Hall of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office that Assance drove into Libby hitting speeds of up to 104 miles per hour.

When the victim picked Assance up later in the day, he allegedly smelled of vodka and remained agitated. Back at the home on Fallen Bear Lane, he allegedly built a fire in a nearby woodshed and accused the victim of calling law enforcement. The victim told Hall that Assance brought gas cans into the house early the following morning and threatened to burn the house down.

Assance allegedly broke the house phone and took the victim’s mobile phone to keep her from calling the authorities. At one point he fired one of the victim’s firearms into the distance and the ejected casing hit her in the head. The victim eventually got her mobile phone back from Assance and was able to call a friend. The friend reported the disturbance to the authorities.

An omnibus hearing for Assance’s case is scheduled for May 3 with a pretrial conference set for June. If the case goes to trial, proceedings would begin July 13.