Arraignment Delayed for Kalispell Man Shot By Police

Ryan Pengelly was due in district court Thursday on assault charges

By Justin Franz
The scene at Looking Glass Avenue in Kalispell on Jan. 12, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The Kalispell man shot by police in January is set to appear in Flathead County District Court on March 16.

Ryan Pengelly, 30, is charged with felony assault on a police officer and was originally scheduled to appear for an arraignment on Feb. 25, but his attorney filed a motion to delay the hearing.

In the motion, Public Defender Brent Getty stated that circumstances “beyond (the) control” of he and his client necessitated the request for more time to prepare for the arraignment.

According to court documents, two Kalispell police officers were dispatched to a home northwest of Kalispell on Jan. 12 after receiving a report of a suicidal woman. After talking to the woman, the officers attempted to get her to go to the hospital with them. When she retreated inside the house, one of the officers grabbed her arm and the woman called for her son.

Pengelly emerged from a back room of the house with a loaded rifle and allegedly pointed the weapon at the two officers. The officers told Pengelly to drop the gun and when he did not follow orders, they opened fire. The two officers fired six shots, four of which struck Pengelly.

Following the shooting, Pengelly was taken to the hospital for surgery. He survived and in an interview with law enforcement after the shooting he said the officers did not give him enough time to drop the weapon before they opened fire.

The shooting was investigated by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, per Kalispell Police Department policy. A week later, Sheriff Chuck Curry announced that the two officers – Sgt. Chad Zimmerman and Officer Eric Brinton – acted appropriately and were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Pengelly served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan in the U.S. Army and earned several medals. In 2012, Pengelly and his wife were surprised with the new house on Looking Glass Avenue as a part of Operation Finally Home, a nonprofit group that builds houses for wounded veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

If convicted, Pengelly could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $50,000. A date has not been set for his arraignment.

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