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Man faces charges in July 4 fireworks incident

| July 14, 2021 6:50 AM

By SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER

For the Hungry Horse News

The Hungry Horse area has historically seen its share of fireworks-related incidents during the July 4 holiday.

This year was no exception.

According to charging documents, a local man with a lengthy criminal history was arrested and jailed after allegedly throwing mortar-type fireworks at a crowd of people and a Flathead County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle.

Justin Andrew Walker, 30, of Hungry Horse, is charged with one felony count of criminal endangerment and one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest after the July 4 incidents.

In a court document detailing the alleged crimes, a county officer reported a man had thrown a mortar-type firework at a patrol vehicle before fleeing the scene.

Later on Sunday evening, another county officer reported seeing a man light another mortar-type firework and throw it across Hungry Horse Boulevard into a crowd of between 75 and 100 people who were gathered near a DJ booth.

The people in the crowd were seen running away as the device exploded. When an officer went after the man, later identified as Walker, he ran from the scene despite the officer’s commands to stop.

Another deputy joined in the chase and tackled the man. A brief struggle followed before Walker was handcuffed. Other deputies arrived and identified Walker as the man who threw the firework at the patrol vehicle earlier in the day.

Walker denied throwing either firework.

He is currently lodged in the Flathead County Detention Center on $30,000 bail. Walker’s arraignment is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 15.

In 2009, Walker pleaded guilty to criminal mischief and received a 3-year deferred sentence for stealing a Bobcat Pioneer and damaging it after driving it on a motorcross track.

But after a forgery charge landed him in trouble again, Walker’s original, deferred sentence was revoked and he was sentenced to seven years, with five suspended.

In 2012, Walker was charged with assault with a weapon and assaulting a peace officer after an incident involving a knife. He pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon and received a 10-year sentence, with five suspended, to a state Department of Corrections facility.

Walker also faced a disorderly conduct charge in 2019 in Custer County. It involved a domestic incident, according to court records.