UPDATE: Drug Investigation Shooting Near Gold’s Gym in Missoula – Police Officer and Suspect Wounded [AUDIO]
UPDATE 6:00 A.M. Thursday, November 28
Two individuals are in the Missoula County jail charged with attempted deliberate homicide and felony robbery. They are Joshua Lee Robinson, 25 and Jazmine Beehler, 22. Both are involved with the undercover drug sting in front of Gold’s Gym that ended with an unidentified plain-clothes police officer and the drug suspect being shot. It is not known at this time if Robinson is actually the suspect who was shot during the incident. Another individual was picked up by authorities on Mullan Road near the Hellgate Trading Post late Wednesday afternoon.
Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Paige Pavalone said the second suspect at the scene, described as a stocky Native American or Hispanic man in his 20′s, is still at large. In addition, authorities are asking people to be on the lookout for a black, 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck with Montana license plate ADK-731. Please call Crimestioppers at 721-44-44 if you have any information about the suspect or that vehicle.
Below, find a photo of the vehicle where the drug deal occurred.
UPDATE 8 p.m. Wednesday, November 27
Two suspects that may have been involved in an undercover drug investigation that led to a Missoula police officer and a suspect being shot were picked up and taken into custody late Wednesday afternoon just off Mullan Road.
Paige Pavalone with the sheriff’s department said the two individuals were spotted by a probation officer.
“Multiple agencies responded out to Mullan Road at Flynn Lane near Hellgate Elementary School,” Pavalone said. “It turns out that a probation officer was following a vehicle with suspects in it related to the shooting that occurred near Rosauers. A traffic stop was conducted at Mullan Road at Flynn Lane near the Hellgate Trading Post, and two suspects were detained without incident. It is unknown what their relationship was to the incident, but they were transported and questioned about the incident.”
Pavalone said neither of the two individuals were the person that officers saw fleeing the scene of the shooting.
“It doesn’t sound like it was that individual who was sought,” Pavalone said. “The two individuals have not been identified and we don’t have a description of them at this time.”
Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Paige Pavalone
UPDATE – 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 27
A witness to the officer-involved shooting that occurred at about 2:30 p.m. this afternoon just outside Gold’s Gym, Karl Rafer King, saw the man involved in the drug deal run from the scene and collapse near the Rosauers grocery store.
“I was in Gold’s Gym when I noticed a young man in his 20′s running along the back wall of Rosauers on the north side and I just assumed he was drunk when he collapsed, but I saw that he wasn’t drunk. He’d been shot,” King said. “The next thing I know, about five or six undercover officers, and one uniformed officer, came running up with their M-14s and handguns pulled, and I knew something serious was going on at that point. Several of the officers went to look for a second suspect, while two stayed with the wounded man and handcuffed him before they began to do some medical work on him.”
King said the man had obviously been shot in the abdomen.
“It looked like a right side abdomen gut-shot,” King said. “They started wrapping him up, and he was coherent when the ambulance showed up and he was yelling at everybody. They had his shirt off, and I could see that he had been shot in the gut. I didn’t see the officer who had been shot, but I did see the suspect take his last few steps before he collapsed.”
Witness to drug shooting incident Karl Rafer King
Police responded Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 27, to a drug investigation shooting incident near Rosauers off of Reserve Street in Missoula.
The drug investigation shooting occurred around 2:30 p.m. near Gold’s Gym where a plain clothed, undercover Missoula County sheriff’s deputy, in addition to a plain clothed undercover Missoula police department officer were involved in the investigation.
During the investigation, an unknown suspect fired a shot that struck the Missoula police officer who was wounded. The Missoula police officer then returned fire, striking the suspect, wounding him.
Paige Pavalone with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department added that another person of interest, who may or may not be a suspect, fled the scene on foot and as of the time of this report is still at large.
“We don’t have a name on him yet,” Pavalone said. “We just have that physical description that we listed for an attempt to locate him (see below).”
Pavalone said there were weapons involved in the incident, and to exercise extreme caution.
He is either a Native American or Hispanic individual, male, about six feet tall, stocky build, 225 pounds with dark hair, wearing dark clothing, and possibly wearing a dark or black baseball cap. This person of interest was last seen fleeing down an alleyway behind Shopko.
The undercover operation was part of a high-intensity drug trafficking area (HIDTA) investigation. Since the shootings involved both the Missoula Police Department, and the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department, the Division of Criminal Investigation out of Helena will be handling the investigation into the shooting.