NewsMissoula County


ID released in fatal shooting involving Missoula Police

Posted at 12:07 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-04 16:35:31-05

MISSOULA – Authorities have released the name of the individual who was killed in a shooting involving Missoula Police on Sunday morning.

Missoula County Sheriff TJ McDermott says Janessa M. Cooper, 49, of Missoula was shot at a Missoula residence.

On Sunday, Missoula Police Officers responded to a residence in the 600 block of Blaine Street to a reported disturbance where a gun was fired inside a home.

Upon arrival, they encountered a person with a gun and shots were fired.

Missoula Police Sergeant Travis Welsh says it is not clear how Cooper died, and it remains under investigation whether or not an officer fired the shot that killed her.

Since at least one officer was involved, Missoula Police passed the case onto the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation Monday.

“And that’s not uncommon. An agency will often invite an outside agency to come in and evaluate, just for an outside perspective. And so we’ve worked on a number of these types of cases,” said Montana DOJ Communications Director John Barnes.

Barnes says their investigation will be extensive.

“That involves a number of different things, including: interviewing everyone who was involved, any potential eye witnesses, examining the scene of the incident, looking at any forensic evidence, and once all of that is complete, then the investigative file will be given to the Missoula County Attorney’s Office, and a coroner’s inquest will be scheduled.”

Barnes adds that, because of the complexity of these types of cases, it is impossible to give an exact estimate into how long an investigation will take to be completed .

“Each case is unique and all of the circumstances involved are unique and so we really can’t even give a ballpark because, in my experience, some take a certain amount of time, others might take longer it really does run the whole spectrum in terms of time frame so I can’t give an estimate at this point.”

Barnes says it will be up to the MPD to identify any officers involved as the investigation wraps up.

Welsh says that per department policy, the officer involved in Sunday’s fatal shooting is on paid administrative leave.