Deputy Reinstated After Review Board Clears Him in Shooting

By Beacon Staff

A review board within the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office has cleared for duty the deputy who shot a woman in Columbia Falls at the end of an Oct. 10 standoff.

According to Sheriff Chuck Curry, Deputy Caleb Pleasants has been reinstated for duty; he had been placed on administrative leave immediately following the shooting. Pleasants is a six-year veteran of the sheriff’s office.

The shooting review board’s report concluded: “After careful review of the information made available to us, we find no deviation from or failure to comply with the Policies and Procedures of the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office. It is further our recommendation that Deputy Caleb Pleasants be returned to full duty at the earliest convenience without restriction or prejudice.”

The Oct. 10 shooting sent Michelle Gentry, 54, to the hospital in critical condition after she was shot twice at the end of the standoff. Law enforcement was responded to a call about a suicidal woman on Eastland Crossroads. The woman wouldn’t leave the house, the sheriff’s office reported, and the SWAT Team responded to set up a perimeter.

After several hours of unsuccessful negotiations, Gentry emerged from the residence with a handgun and advanced toward deputies, and was shot.

She was immediately taken to the hospital, where she was listed in critical condition. A few days after the shooting, her condition was upgraded to fair.

The report and recommendation from the review board is different from the investigation into the shooting conducted by the Kalispell Police Department. That report has already been passed on to the Flathead County Attorney’s Office, Curry said.

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