Woman Shot in Standoff Faces Felony

By Beacon Staff

A Columbia Falls woman has been charged with assault after she allegedly walked out of her house while holding a gun during a standoff with law enforcement.

Michelle Gentry, 54, faces a felony assault on a peace officer charge after the Oct. 10 standoff, which resulted in a deputy shooting Gentry twice.

According to reports from law enforcement and court documents, the Flathead County sheriff’s officers responded to a call at about 2 p.m. on Oct. 10 about an armed, suicidal woman at an Eastland Crossroad residence.

Responding deputies reported that they were able to make phone contact with Gentry, confirming she was suicidal and armed. However, when she refused to leave the residence, negotiations began and the SWAT team was called.

SWAT set up a perimeter, and waited through several hours of unsuccessful negotiations, according to a report from the sheriff’s office. At about 6:30 p.m., prosecutors say Gentry left her home with handgun, and pointed the handgun at Deputy Caleb Pleasants, who fired on her.

Following the shooting, Gentry was transported to Kalispell Regional Medical Center, where she was initially listed in critical condition but upgraded to fair condition by Oct. 14.

The Kalispell Police Department conducted an outside investigation of the shooting at the request of the sheriff’s office. KPD also processed the scene.

Court documents list information from KPD detectives as the reports being used to file the felony charge against Gentry.

Pleasants, a six-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was cleared for duty by an internal review board in early November. The deputy had been placed on administrative leave immediately following the shooting, according to Sheriff Chuck Curry, and the review board found he had not deviated from or failed to comply with policies and procedures within the sheriff’s office. The charging documents say Pleasants “responded with force accordingly” in the situation.

As of Dec. 9, Gentry was scheduled to enter a plea to the felony charge at a Dec. 12 arraignment. If convicted, she could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

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