Kalispell Boy Makes Initial Appearance in Father’s Shooting Death

By Beacon Staff

An 11-year-old Kalispell boy suspected in the shooting death of his father, 47-year-old Patrick Gretsch, made his initial appearance Tuesday afternoon in Flathead County District Court.

Judge Stewart E. Stadler determined there was probable cause to continue holding the boy in the county’s juvenile detention facility, and set his initial bond at $25,000.

No formal charges have been filed yet.

Gretsch was shot once in the chest with a shotgun Monday night at a trailer home on College Avenue in Kalispell. He died at the scene.

The youth, whose name has not been released, was taken into custody late Monday night. Deputy Flathead County Attorney Lori Adams said, in the case of a juvenile, the court must hold a hearing within 24 hours to determine if the child can be kept in custody. Formal charges must then be filed within 10 days.

Prosecutors, however, said they expected to file charges Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday. Authorities said the boy will likely be charged with mitigated deliberate homicide, which means that a person purposely or knowingly caused the death of another person, but did so under the influence of extreme mental or emotional stress for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse.

“In this case, we’ll also obviously be considering the age,” Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan said.

Kalispell police received an initial report of an “accidental shooting” at a College Avenue home just after 6 p.m. Monday. After investigating, detectives determined, through interviews with family members and evidence at the scene, that the shooting was deliberate.

The shooting reportedly occurred after a domestic dispute between Gretsch and another adult family member. During the argument, the boy fired two rounds from a 20-gauge shotgun – one hit the ceiling of the home and a second hit his father, according to the Kalispell Police Department.

During Tuesday afternoon’s hearing, Stadler said the boy’s mother had indicated the boy was the one who did the shooting.

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