Barricaded gunman apprehended

Flathead County Sheriff's Department SWAT team members meet with Patrol Commander Calvin Beringer, center, before moving toward the scene of a report of shots being fired in Somers early Saturday, Feb. 9. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

A man firing wildly from a variety of weapons outside his Somers home early Saturday morning drew a SWAT team that was eventually able to capture him after a more than five-hour standoff.

41-year-old Christopher Cassidy is now incarcerated in the Flathead County Jail on an initial felony charge of criminal endangerment.

According to Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry, deputies responded to the home shortly after midnight, when reports came in of shots fired on Somers Road in a residential neighborhood. Upon their arrival, they witnessed Cassidy firing rounds from just outside his front door.

At that point, a staging point was set up at the nearby intersection of Somers Road, Burns Street and Summit Avenue.

Curry said Cassidy exited and entered his house repeatedly throughout the incident, using both rifles and handguns to fire between 80 and 100 rounds. Despite the barrage of gunfire, no nearby residents were evacuated.

“Based upon where he was, it really wasn’t safe to get to the inner perimeter until SWAT was there, and then, once SWAT arrived, we set up an inner perimeter that did not necessitate any evacuations,” Curry said.

A later investigation brought deputies to the determination that no neighboring homes or residents were struck by any of the shots fired by Cassidy.

“We canvassed a pretty good area but weren’t able to find anything,” Curry said.

The sheer volume of gunfire led to the deployment of the Peacekeeper, an armored law enforcement vehicle. SWAT team members used the vehicle to get closer to the home and as a shield.

They first attempted to negotiate with Cassidy, but were unsuccessful. He was finally taken into custody without incident shortly before 6 a.m., after tear gas was inserted into the home.

Following Cassidy’s arrest, a marijuana grow operation was found inside his home. Investigators obtained a search warrant Saturday morning and seized 86 marijuana plants. Based on the discovery, drug charges against Cassidy are also pending.

The incident remains under investigation.

 

Reporter Jesse Davis may be reached at 758-4441 or by email at jdavis@dailyinterlake.com.

Flathead County Undersheriff Dave Leib, center, and deputies load up the Peacekeeper at a staging point near the scene of a standoff in Somers Saturday morning, Feb. 9. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

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