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Missoula, Butte police use armored vehicles to help end I-90 standoff

Posted at 9:12 AM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 11:19:34-05

BUTTE — Multiple agencies were involved in the chase of a man suspected of shooting at law enforcement in Belgrade, which ended in his arrest over 130 miles away.

“We got word about 12:30 last night that a male driving a pickup with a trailer had been involved in a pursuit situation in Gallatin County and had fired at an officer,” said Butte Sheriff Ed Lester.

The suspect drove into Butte early Thursday morning and a local officer located the man in his truck parked at Elm and Home streets.

A police pursuit ensued in town, which continued on Interstate 90 westbound. Anaconda police deployed a device to deflate one of the fleeing vehicle’s tires, but the chase continued at high speeds.

“The speeds still were up at 90 to 100 miles per hour going westbound even after he’d lost his right front tire, so that’s dangerous in itself,” said Lester.

The suspect eventually pulled over on the side of the highway west of Garrison. Missoula and Butte both dispatched SWAT teams to the scene with armored vehicles, and eventually arrested the driver without incident.

The sheriff said the driver appeared highly disoriented at the time. Powell County Sheriff Gavin Roselles said firearms were found in the suspect’s truck.

Police said it was fortunate the incident ended without anyone being harmed.

“The driving alone is dangerous and then you throw in the fact that he’s already fired at law enforcement, so it’s clearly a dangerous situation and we’re always happy when everybody gets to go home safely, including the suspect,” said Lester.

Butte Law Enforcement’s Bearcat armored vehicle and saw its first action during this standoff. The sheriff said the vehicle proved valuable in bringing the tense situation to a peaceful end.

“It’s a pretty formidable looking vehicle, but it’s a defensive tool and it just makes the overall situation safer and this is a prime example of two tactical teams working together, we were able to approach this situation safely because of the fact that both agencies had armored vehicles,” the sheriff said

Police report 35-year-old Jon Binkley of Bozeman is in custody in Powell County in connection with this incident.