Missoula Crime Report: Aggravated Assault Arrests Are Up 50% Since the Start of COVID-19
The Missoula County Attorney’s Office filed 10 new criminal complaints this week, which is significantly lower than normal. However, County Attorney Kirsten Pabst said there was a wide variety of cases this week.
“We charged one failure to register as a violent offender, one methamphetamine case, which is good news in it of itself because it was only one, and one burglary case,” Pabst said. “In the burglary case, the defendant was trespassed from a local grocery store, came back in, attempted to steal items, threatened an employee who was calling 911, and then let her know that he or his friends would be finding her after he was released from jail.”
In addition, Pabst said her office filed one felony DUI and a criminal endangerment case.
“In the criminal endangerment, the defendant allegedly drove his car into a lane head on of a family that was driving down the other way,” Pabst said. “Had they not swerved from the road, they believe that he would have hit them head on and they would have been seriously injured. Their children were in the car at the time.”
According to Pabst, there were a handful of violent crimes this week as well. One case involved strangulation and partner or family member assault.
“The second was a partner or family member assault in which the defendant was allegedly highly inebriated and struck his wife,” Pabst said. “In the next case, the defendant allegedly threatened to harm or kill her ex-boyfriend and his dog. She repeatedly sent him threatening texts and calls indicating she was going to harm him, had recently purchased multiple firearms, and had shown up at his home.”
One defendant was charged with two counts of assault with a weapon, partner or family member assault third offense, and obstructing a peace officer. In that case, the defendant allegedly racked a handgun and pointed it at the head of his mother and her friend.
Another defendant was charged with two counts of aggravated animal cruelty after he allegedly killed and mutilated two kittens. It was reported that he allegedly sent photos of the kitten’s carcasses to his children.
Since the COVID-19 restrictions went into place, Pabst said Missoula has seen a huge spike in violent crimes. Between April and the beginning of October, aggravated assault arrests were up 50% from 114 during that time period in 2019 to 170 this year.