Man sentenced for pointing loaded AR-15 rifle at deputy

Print Article

A Kalispell man has lost his right to own firearms after pointing an AR-15-style rifle out of his trailer window at a deputy.

Flathead District Court Judge Robert B. Allison told Andrew Todd Westfall he was “lucky to be alive” during his sentencing March 1.

Flathead County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a 911 hang-up call involving a disturbance between Westfall and his girlfriend on Oct. 14, 2017. Westfall was reportedly very intoxicated when officers arrived at the scene. While one of the deputies reportedly made contact with Westfall’s girlfriend, Westfall refused to exit the home.

According to the police report, when a responding deputy looked into the trailer window, he reportedly saw Westfall pointing a semi-automatic rifle out the window in his direction. The deputy said the barrel of the gun looked to be “the size of a watermelon” as he realized what was happening. The deputy reportedly drew his weapon and ordered Westfall put the firearm down at least twice to before he complied.

Westfall admitted he had limited recollection of the night, but said he was “appalled and embarrassed” at his actions in court on Thursday.

When officers confiscated the rifle, they reportedly found a live round in the gun’s chamber and the safety was not on.

Westfall accepted a plea agreement that lessened his charge from assault on peace officer to criminal endangerment. He was sentenced to three years suspended with the Department of Corrections. A suspended sentence doesn’t require additional jail time, but necessitates the defendant adhere to specific rules and be supervised by the probation department.

Westfall’s defense attorney asked the judge to order a “deferred” three-year sentence with the Department of Correction.

A deferred sentence would give the judge more leeway to impose a stricter sentence if Westfall breaks the terms of his sentence, but could allow the felony charge to be dropped if Westfall successfully completed the sentencing term. According to his attorney, Westfall was prepared to take a slightly longer sentence if he could have a deferred sentence, because he didn’t want to give up his right to own a gun.

Judge Allison said while he did prefer a deferred sentence in some cases, this would not be one of them.

“I’ve been surprised, on at least a couple of occasions now in the past year or so ... that sheriff’s deputies have exhibited the restraint they have when a defendant is waving a gun around,” he said.

“I’m actually at a point where if you point a gun or an officer asks you to put a gun down and you don’t, I’m at a loss to understand why as a punitive measure I wouldn’t just send someone to state prison for an amount of time,” Allison said.

While the judge said he wouldn’t do that in this case, he also wouldn’t allow the defendant the ability to own and operate a firearm in the future.

“When you waved that firearm, you waived that right to possess a gun,” Allison told Westfall.

Reporter Breeana Laughlin can be reached at 758-4441 or blaughlin@dailyinterlake.com.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Judge restores energy lease on Montana land sacred to tribes

AP

September 25, 2018 at 2:15 pm | BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A judge reinstated an oil and gas lease on land in northwestern Montana considered sacred to some tribes in the U.S. and Canada — a ruling that could test the depths of the Tru...

Comments

Read More

Car raffle yields poignant moment for rural church

September 25, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Stillwater Free Lutheran Church residents can’t help but feel there’s been some divine intervention in their quest to raise money for a new building to house the congregation’s children and youth min...

Comments

Read More

Bigfork to move ahead with trail expansion

September 25, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The Community Foundation for a Better Bigfork voted Thursday to move forward with plans to expand the current Bigfork Nature Trails system following an update on the partnership between the foundatio...

Comments

Read More

Governor: Forests in crisis require new approach

September 24, 2018 at 5:40 pm | Daily Inter Lake An ominous mix of climate change, insect infestation, drought, increasingly catastrophic wildfires and a history of fire suppression demand an unprecedented and collaborative new approach to forest m...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2018 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X