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Standoff ends after gunfire exchange with woman on Dawn Drive

by TERESA BYRDSCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
Staff Writer | May 26, 2021 3:50 PM

Law enforcement officers exchanged gunfire with a woman during an armed standoff in Columbia Falls that lasted more than seven hours Wednesday.

Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino said he believed the woman was hit by officers' gunfire during the exchange. He said she was taken to a local hospital after officers took her into custody. The extent of her injuries was unknown.

Two officers involved in the gunfire exchange will be placed on administrative leave, Heino said.

The standoff ended shortly after 5 p.m. after law enforcement officials tried to negotiate with the armed woman who was holed up in a camper on Dawn Drive, just east of Halfmoon Road.

Flathead County sheriff’s deputies and Columbia Falls police officers first responded to the scene at about 10 a.m.

Law enforcement officials continued to conduct negotiations with the suspect through the afternoon. Four rounds of tear gas were thrown into the camper, including two at 2 p.m., and two more 10 minutes later.

Officers hoped the tear gas would end the standoff, but the woman didn't come out of the camper.

The first call came in at 9:15 a.m. when neighbors reported shots being fired.

Neighbors evacuated their homes and remained outside through the afternoon, while other residents trying to get to their homes weren't allowed into the neighborhood.

A Missoula County Sheriff's Office vehicle and officers responded at about 4 p.m. to assist.