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Helena man charged in shootout with law enforcement
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Helena man charged in shootout with law enforcement

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Bryan Neil Arvidson

Bryan Neil Arvidson

A 29-year-old Helena man was charged with multiple felonies following a shootout with police officers over the weekend. 

Bryan Neil Arvidson is charged with felony criminal endangerment, felony assault on a peace officer and misdemeanor obstructing a public servant. 

Around 7:47 p.m. Friday, a deputy from the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office responded to a residence on Strandberg Drive to investigate reports of someone shooting a gun nearby. A male resident reported hearing gunshots that "whizzed" over his head.

Prior to the complainant's call, the defendant had called to report to the 911 Dispatch Center that he intended to shoot his shotgun in the area. 

The deputy met the defendant at his residence, where he admitted to firing his shotgun and a 9mm handgun at the ground, but denied firing the weapons in the direction of his neighbor's home. The defendant agreed to stop firing his weapons until he had taken precautions to ensure his bullets could not ricochet and threaten people or livestock. 

The deputy then met with the complainant, who said he called 911 because he heard 15 to 20 gunshots coming from the defendant's property and reportedly heard some going over his head. The complainant said he heard several rounds strike something near his residence and later found there were two recent hits from bullets on a nearby utility pole and fence. The complaint said he heard shotgun pellets falling off his roof. 

Around 9:50 p.m., the 911 Dispatch Center received multiple calls from neighbors reporting more gunshots coming from the defendant's residence. One caller reported hearing shotgun pellets strike her house. The deputy who responded earlier called the defendant to ask if he was shooting his guns again. The deputy indicated that he could do so until 10 p.m., and the defendant then ended the phone call. 

The deputy responded to the scene and could still hear gunshots coming from the defendant's property. He decided to detain him for criminal endangerment because of the risk to his neighbors.

Court documents state that while a search warrant was being drafted, the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office and Helena Police Department crisis negotiator team members staged near the defendant's home and contacted him by phone. Investigators believed the defendant had a wife and child in the residence. 

Documents say the defendant sounded intoxicated and was very aggravated as he made derogatory and threatening comments to the negotiators. He denied repeated requests from law enforcement to disarm and speak with them in person. He invited them to come up to the outside of his house to talk with him, but he refused to disarm. 

Negotiators told the defendant a large truck would be pulling into his driveway holding police and a SWAT team negotiator. 

When the vehicle drove to the residence's main door, the defendant came outside holding a shotgun and pistol. He indicated he was armed. Attempts to negotiate with the defendant were reportedly not successful and before he could return to his house, law enforcement attempted to incapacitate him by shooting his leg with a .40mm non-lethal "direct impact" rubber munition. 

The defendant was able to get back inside his residence where be began firing multiple rounds at the armored vehicle, with at least two rounds striking the vehicle. 

Shortly after 5 a.m. the defendant's wife and children were able to leave the residence, but the defendant remained inside. As daylight approached, SWAT units deployed flashbang grenades and gas to force entry into the defendant's residence.

All charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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