Bail Set for Man Involved in Polson Standoff

By Beacon Staff

POLSON – Bail was set at $250,000 Thursday for a man who allegedly fired a rifle during a three-hour standoff with authorities earlier this week.

Wilbert Michel, 62, was charged with four felony counts of assault with a weapon and one felony count of criminal endangerment after allegedly firing the gun as his family fled their Polson home Tuesday.

Mark Russell, Lake County’s deputy attorney, said authorities don’t believe Michel was aiming at anyone when the rifle went off.

Russell said Michel broke a restraining order requested by his wife when he entered the family home Tuesday evening. Michel’s wife, daughter, son and a friend of the son were in the house at the time.

Michel “was observed to be extremely intoxicated,” Russell told Justice of the Peace Chuck Wall during Thursday’s bond hearing. “He obtained a high-powered rifle, and the kids saw him trying to load it.”

About a dozen law enforcement officers responded, but decided the standoff had a better chance of being resolved if people outside law enforcement were brought in to talk to Michel.

Margaret Friedlander, a leader in the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and CSKT council member Mike Kenmille talked Michel into surrendering.

“She and Mike did an absolutely splendid job,” Polson Police Chief Doug Chase said. “The main thing is to get the situation solved and resolved without anyone getting hurt, and that’s what happened.”

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