Sheriff's office: Two shootings related, Evaro area manhunt continues, extreme caution urged – The Missoulian
Authorities in Missoula and Missoula County scrambled late Thursday night into Friday morning to deal with two related shootings, one on Expressway near Airway Boulevard and a subsequent one near Evaro Hill, involving a law enforcement officer, that prompted a massive manhunt in the area.
As law enforcement from several agencies searched for a suspect, believed to be driving a white SUV, residents in the Evaro Hill area were warned to lock their doors and immediately call 911 to report any unusual activity.
The first incident occurred around 11 p.m. near the Lithia car dealership. Officers from the Missoula Police Department, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office and the Montana Highway Patrol, along with an ambulance, responded, and the area was quickly blocked off. At around midnight, a report of shots fired came from Evaro Hill, and a section of Highway 93 North was shut down as authorities combed the area for a suspect, described on the scanner as armed with an AR-15 rifle and a .45.
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Brenda Bassett said the two incidents were related, and confirmed that the second involved a law enforcement officer. She said she could not comment on injuries or fatalities until families were notified.
The search went on well into the early-morning hours. At a hastily called news conference at the Wye shortly before 2 a.m., Bassett urged extreme caution.
The situation “is moving very fast so we’re just really trying to take care of that No. 1 priority, keeping the public safe,” she said. “… We have a suspect, at least one, on the loose right now. … I can’t stress enough, just lock your doors.”
Highway 93 was closed between mile markers 3 and 10, and trains that usually move through the area at night were halted. Traffic headed north toward Polson is being asked to reroute through St. Regis.