Robbery, standoff end in suicide

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After barricading himself in a pickup, a robbery suspect killed himself late Tuesday night, ending a standoff that lasted for hours.

Kristopher L. Jones, 29, of Helena died at Kalispell Regional Medical Center a few hours after the incident.

“It started out as an armed robbery,” Kalispell Chief of Police Roger Nasset said. “Officers did their very best to resolve the situation peaceably, but unfortunately this didn’t work out 100 percent for the suspect.”

According to police, Jones robbed a pharmacy at gunpoint Tuesday evening before fleeing, then barricaded himself in his pickup for 5 1/2 hours while negotiators talked to him.

Police say he shot himself twice in quick succession, with the first shot just grazing his head and the second causing fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead at approximately 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jones pointed a revolver at three employees behind the counter at the Medical Arts Pharmacy and demanded Oxycontin and Phentanyl patches, according to Kalispell police.

After receiving the narcotics and between $500 and $1,000, Jones fled southbound on foot to a gray Ford pickup.

He jumped in and drove away northbound.

Witnesses called with vehicle descriptions, enabling Kalispell police to locate the vehicle and suspect in the parking lot shared by Lamplighter House and Home Options along Windward Way. 

Upon seeing the first officer arrive, Jones placed the handgun to his head and told the officer to leave. Jones refused to come out of his vehicle.

A standoff ensued for five and a half hours.

Additional Kalispell police, along with Flathead County Sheriff’s deputies and Montana Highway Patrol officers, responded to the scene. Both lanes of Windward Way were barricaded during the standoff.

The BEAR armored vehicle was deployed close to the pickup to block it from fleeing.

Negotiators maintained off-and-on cell-phone contact with Jones, managing to keep him on the phone until he shot himself at 11:06 p.m.

No shots were fired by law enforcement.

“Negotiators tried every avenue they could,” Nasset said. “This was clearly a suicidal subject from the beginning.”

It is suspected that Jones ingested some of the narcotics during the standoff.

Jones was wanted for an outstanding felony warrant, which included numerous drug charges. He was on probation for fraudulently obtaining dangerous drugs.

The robbery is under investigation by Kalispell police detectives. The shooting scene is being investigated by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and Kalispell Police Department. A civilian coroner from Lincoln County is acting as coroner in this investigation.

Reporter Melissa Weaver may be reached at 758-4441 or by e-mail at mweaver@dailyinterlake.com

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