HELENA — A 26-year-old Helena man was arrested late Saturday after he allegedly fired a .380 caliber pistol at multiple deputies.

Christopher John Duncan had recently been released from the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs and was making suicidal comments to family members. They asked for deputies from the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office to perform a welfare check on him at his home in the 5000 block of Forest Road, an affidavit supporting his arrest said.

Two deputies and two reserve trainees responded to the residence to check on Duncan and, as they were attempting to locate him, a shot was fired, the affidavit said, “possibly in their direction.”

A second shot was fired, this time appearing not to be aimed at them, and additional deputies arrived on scene to assist, the affidavit said.

Shortly after the arrival of additional deputies, a third shot was fired, this time pointed in the direction of a deputy, the affidavit said.

“That Deputy stated the shot sounded as if it was pointed in his direction, and stated he could hear the bullet travelling through the air as it passed a short distance, possibly within several feet, from him,” the affidavit said.

According to an email from Sheriff Leo Dutton, members of the SWAT unit responded to the scene shortly after the second shot.

“As the SWAT unit was arriving, Mr. Duncan rushed out of the trees at a deputy,” the email said.

Duncan was taken into custody a short time later and was not armed when he was arrested, the email said.

A firearm was located in the area in which Duncan was arrested, and shell casings of the same caliber as the weapon were found near the residence in locations that matched where deputies believed Duncan was located when the shots were fired, the affidavit said.

Duncan was taken to St. Peter’s Hospital for treatment and evaluation and then to the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center, where he was charged with three counts of assault with a weapon.


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