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HELENA — Two inmates attempted suicide Monday morning at the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center, but their effort was halted by the quick response of two officers.

Sheriff Leo Dutton said the two men simultaneously tried to hang themselves from a railing with bed sheets about 8:10 a.m. But a detention officer monitoring the pod where they resided saw the men acting oddly, and two officers got to the men within a minute or two.

“It was very intentional and planned,” Dutton said. “What foiled the plan was the detention officer who saw them acting suspicious.”

Capt. Dave Fradette, who runs the detention center, declined to release the names of the men. He said they were incarcerated pending felony charges but hadn’t been convicted.

He said the men tried to prevent entry into the pod, and they were unconscious by the time officers got to them. Both were taken to the mental health center at St. Peter’s Hospital. One man was evaluated and released back to the jail; the other man was being kept overnight for observation but is expected to fully recover.

“The officers did a great job,” Fradette added. “They were right on top of this.”

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