Shots Fired Following Brief Pursuit in Lake County

Montana Highway Patrol trooper fired at 41-year-old Billy Washburn after he attempted to ram law enforcement vehicle

By Andy Viano

No serious injuries were reported after a Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) trooper shot at a suspect who was attempting to ram his vehicle south of Ronan.

The incident began a little after 10 p.m. Tuesday, when a MHP trooper attempted to pull over a vehicle that was speeding on U.S. Highway 93. The driver of the vehicle, identified by the Lake County Attorney’s Office as 41-year-old Billy Washburn, did not stop and a pursuit intervention technique (PIT) used by the trooper to disable the vehicle was unsuccessful. The brief pursuit ended just west of the highway, near Beaverhead Drive and Chief Eagle Lane, after Washburn allegedly attempted to ram the trooper. The trooper responded by firing at Washburn, who sustained minor injuries, according to press release from the Attorney General’s office. No law enforcement officers were injured during the incident. The identity of the trooper has not been released.

Washburn is in custody at the Lake County Detention Center and being held on suspicion of criminal endangerment and felony DUI. He had not been formally charged as of Wednesday afternoon.

Because shots were fired by law enforcement, further investigation into the incident has been turned over to the Montana Department of Criminal Investigations.

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