Marion man receives suspended sentence in shooting incident

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A Flathead County man who pleaded guilty to firing a gun at his wife and a Sheriff’s Office chaplain trying to mediate a dispute between the two in the Marion area earlier this year was recently sentenced in Flathead County District Court.

Johnanthony Evangelestomp, 52, pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal endangerment in August and received a suspended sentence of 10 years Oct. 25 from Judge Robert B. Allison. A charge of assault with a weapon was dropped as part of a plea agreement.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Randy Olson, a chaplain for the Sheriff’s Office, contacted Undersheriff Dave Leib to report someone had shot at him. Commander Brian Heino then spoke with Olson, who said he had been at the Evangelestomps’ residence helping the man and his wife work on some marital issues May 29.

Olson said Evangelestomp left the home, but returned a short time later to retrieve his gun. When his wife learned her husband was retrieving his gun, she got in her vehicle and began to leave the residence, according to the complaint.

Evangelestomp came out of the residence with a pistol, pointed it over Olson’s left shoulder in his wife’s direction as she was driving away and fired one round. Olson said Evangelestomp said “the (expletive) is leaving” as he fired the gun.

Evangelestomp then swung the gun over his right shoulder and fired four more rounds toward the neighboring church, according to Olson.

When law officers spoke with Evangelestomp at the residence, he admitted that he and his wife were having problems and he had solicited the assistance of Olson. He also said he was drunk and very angry.

Evangelestomp admitted to firing the gun and that he had scared Olson.

When officers spoke with Evangelestomp’s wife, she said she heard gun shots as she left the residence.

According to a press release from Sheriff Chuck Curry, the county SWAT team and Sheriff’s Office negotiators responded.

The release indicated negotiators were able to speak to Evangelestomp and got him to come out of the residence unarmed. He was taken into custody without incident.

Evangelestomp faced a maximum term of 20 years in the Montana State Prison on the assault with a weapon charge and up to 10 years on the endangerment count.

Reporter Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 406-758-4441 or sshindledecker@dailyinterlake.com.

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