GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls Police Department says that one suspect has been arrested and another remains at large in connection with several reported assaults.
The GFPD has been investigating several assaults on homeless people that happened in the downtown area in September and October of 2021.
On December 22nd, officers arrested 18-year-old Caleb Lee Swanson for his involvement in the assaults.
The GFPD said in a news release on Thursday, January 13, 2022, that Detective Will Fleming is now asking for help from the community in locating a second suspect, Zachary Martin Schmitt.
Fleming says community tips were a big part of leading to the first arrest; he says it is still an active investigation and are prioritizing locating Schmitt.
“The charges resulting from this investigation were a culmination of video surveillance evidence, tips and information from community members, and statements from people involved,” Fleming said. “As far as the community member tips and information and assistance, it was essential for this type of case. We do have quite a few people working on this. We’re just looking for information about his whereabouts.”
An arrest warrant has been issued for Schmitt; he is 20 years old, 6’0” tall, 170 pounds, with blonde hair and brown eyes.
Schmitt is also wanted for questioning related to several additional crimes currently being investigated by police.
The GFPD says that Schmitt may be armed and could be dangerous.
The GFPD is aware these assaults affected many members of the community, as demonstrated when community members participated in a candlelight vigil for the victims.
Information related to Schmitt’s whereabouts and arrest could result in compensation through Crimestoppers. Anyone with information regarding Schmitt’s whereabouts, is asked to call Detective Will Fleming at 406-455-8519 or Detective Sergeant Derek Mahlum at 406- 781-8926. Tips may also be sent by private message to the GFPD Facebook page, or by logging on to P3TIPS.COM. Tipsters may remain anonymous.
(OCTOBER 15, 2021) The Great Falls Police Department is investigating two assaults they believe are related that happened recently in the downtown area.
The first one happened at the end of September, and the other during the first week of October. They took place in the 500 block of 2nd Avenue North and the 100 block of 8th Street North.
The GFPD says the two victims were violently assaulted in what appear to be completely unprovoked attacks. Both of the victims had been sleeping in the downtown area at the time of the attacks and both victims sustained significant injuries; the attacks happened after all businesses and bars in the area were closed.
Detectives believe there have been more attacks that have not been reported at this time.
The GFPD has obtained a photograph from downtown surveillance footage showing two people who likely have information regarding the assaults.
The GFPD is specifically asking for the public’s help in identifying the two individuals depicted in the photographs, as detectives need to speak with them regarding the assaults.
These crimes appear to have been focused on the transient population and were unprovoked. The community’s help in this matter is needed to help us protect our community.
If you have any information that helps identify the two people in the photos or any other information about these crimes, you're asked to contact Detective Will Fleming at 406-455-8519, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.