BOZEMAN — A police officer fatally shot a motorist who brandished a handgun during a traffic stop late Friday, Bozeman Police Chief Mark Tymrak said Saturday.
Lt. Rich McLane, a 14-year veteran of the department, stopped a pickup for speeding at around 11:15 p.m. Friday near the Bozeman Daily Chronicle building, Tymrak said.
McLane got out of his squad car and approached the driver's side window when the driver pointed a handgun at McLane and pulled the trigger, Tymrak said in a statement
"(McLane) then defended himself," Tymrak said.
Tymrak did not know the reason for the traffic stop or whether the driver fired any shots.
The victim, a 48-year old man, died about 1:30 a.m. at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. His name has not been released.
McLane's wife, Rhonda, was in the patrol car at the time. Neither was injured.
"It's a very common practice for officers to have ride-alongs and have spouses ride along," Tymrak said. "Unfortunately, she had to see something horrible."
McLane, who recently served in Iraq with the Montana National Guard's 143rd Military Police Detachment, declined to comment.
Witnesses at the Chronicle heard multiple gunshots, but police have not said how many shots were fired.
Witnesses said the victim was dragged out of the passenger side of the pickup and handcuffed.
Several officers surrounded him with guns drawn, said Chronicle pressman Rick Bristow. A few minutes later, paramedics arrived and performed CPR on the man before loading him in an ambulance, Bristow said.
The investigation is being handled by the state's Division of Criminal Investigations and the Gallatin County Sheriff's Department.