In the span of just 36 hours two people have been gunned down in Great Falls. The most recent fatal shooting occurred early Friday evening in a neighborhood on the far western edge of the city, beneath the northeast corner of the Great Falls International Airport, which stands atop Gore Hill.
The Great Falls Police Department (GFPD) issued a public alert warning of police activity in response to a "serious incident" near the 1400 block of 3rd West Hill Drive at approximately 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 18, GFPD released the following update.
"Last night, March 17, at approximately 5:40 p.m., 911 dispatchers received reports of neighbors hearing gunshots coming from a residence in the 1400 block of 3rd West Hill Drive," the update states. "Upon arrival, officers discovered one person deceased from what appeared to be a gunshot wound. Officers quickly identified a suspect and learned that person had left the residence only minutes before."
"Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies worked together and at approximately 11 p.m. last night a lengthy pursuit and standoff ended in Pondera County when the suspect died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"GFPD detectives are leading the investigation into the homicide that occurred at 3rd West Hill Drive. Community members should expect to see police activity at the residence throughout the day. Montana Department of Criminal Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the death investigation in Pondera County.
"Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter will release the name of the decedent in Great Falls when he determines it is appropriate to do so. To protect the integrity of the investigation, we are unable to share further details at this time.
"We appreciate the community's cooperation and concern for all involved."
This is the fourth shooting in Great Falls since Feb. 21, when a 14-year-old middle school student shot a 15-year-old Great Falls High School student in the stomach while the victim was walking to school.
Two weeks later, on the afternoon of March 7, Great Falls police officer Tanner Lee was seriously injured after being shot twice in the chest and once in the arm while pursuing a fugitive near the intersection of 12th Street and 5th Avenue South. The suspect, Jacob Kain Bradley was subsequently shot in the head by a responding officer and remains in critical condition.
And on Thursday morning at approximately 5:15 a.m. an unidentified victim was shot and killed at the intersection of 9th Ave. S. and 15th Street near a Town Pump convenience store. Great Falls police have not said whether any of these incidents are related or whether they occurred due to independent circumstance.
The Great Falls Tribune will update these stories as more information becomes available.
This article originally appeared on Great Falls Tribune: Second fatal shooting in two days. Great Falls reels in crime wave