Authorities have identified the officer and the man he shot and killed last week near East Helena.
Officials announced Monday that Lewis and Clark County deputy Andrew Blythe, 29, fatally shot Taylor Schnortz, 26, of Townsend, just before midnight Thursday at a home on Casper Drive.
The sheriff’s office responded to the home after being asked to check on a man who was cutting himself, Sheriff Leo Dutton said. The person who called 911 said the man was bleeding from self-inflicted injuries and was suicidal.
Dutton said deputies verbally negotiated with the suspect for about an hour, but the man forced the deputy to shoot. The suspect did not fire his weapon and no law enforcement officers were injured, the sheriff said.
Blythe started with the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer in 2009, according to a press release from the agency. He applied for a deputy position and was hired as a sworn deputy in October 2011.
He completed basic law enforcement training at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy and has since completed several advanced trainings, including crisis intervention training and advanced weapon retention, and he is a use-of-force instructor for defensive tactics.
Blythe is on administrative leave, which is protocol after an officer involved shooting. He will remain on leave until the sheriff’s office completes an administrative review and he has been deemed fit for duty by a mental health therapist. The administrative review could last as long as two weeks.
Dutton has asked the Montana Department of Criminal Investigations to conduct the criminal investigation, which could take as long as six weeks.
The final review will be a coroner's inquest, which Montana law requires whenever law enforcement is involved in a fatal shooting or someone dies in law enforcement custody. As part of this process, a citizen jury will hear testimony and then make a recommendation on whether criminal charges are warranted.