A police pursuit Friday night ended when a murder suspect out of Great Falls ended his own life near Valier.
Pondera County deputies were notified Friday that a suspect in a murder had fled Great Falls and was driving a black GMC truck.
At about 7:45 p.m. a Pondera County deputy found the truck on Highway 44 near Conrad.
When deputies attempted to contact the suspect, he fled west with deputies in pursuit. During the pursuit the suspect fired a pistol at the pursuing deputies. The pursuit went through the town of Valier and stopped at the Valier Pavilion boat ramp, where deputies were able to block the suspect’s escape.
By that time assistance from the Great Falls Police Department, Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Highway Patrol, Glacier County and Toole County Sheriff’s Offices, Conrad Police, Blackfeet Law Enforcement, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the FBI were on scene to assist.
For three hours deputies and negotiators attempted to work with the suspect to surrender peacefully but at about 11 p.m. the suspect fatally shot himself.
Pondera County Sheriff Robert Skorupa said that normal procedure is being followed, and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation will be conducting the investigation into the suspect’s death. His body will be sent to the Montana Crime Lab for autopsy and a coroner from another county will conduct a coroner’s inquest at a later date.
“It makes me very proud to know this community has deputies that work hard all the time to make this county a safer place,” Skorupa said. “We are so grateful for all the support we had from so many entities. Linda and Tom Kuka opened up the community Center and made sandwiches and hot coffee for the people who assisted. Allowed everyone to warm up as well.”
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