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Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton spoke briefly at a morning press conference about a shooting that took place late Sunday night which left one man dead and three deputies on paid leave of absence until the investigation is complete.

The Lewis and Clark County coroner Tuesday morning will release autopsy results from a man who exchanged fire with three sheriff's deputies.

Authorities said deputies were attempting to serve a warrant on Jeffery John Lefferdink, 32, when there was a shootout late Sunday night. Lefferdink died at the scene, Coroner Mickey Nelson said. The deputies involved were not injured.

Initial reports stated that 14 shots were fired, but Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said that number may be inaccurate and the count remains under investigation. Investigators also are trying to determine who shot first.

The shooting occurred after a traffic stop near the intersection of North Montana Avenue and Buffalo Road at about 11:35 p.m. Sunday night, Dutton said.

"We had been looking for him," he said. "There was a short pursuit."

Dutton said deputies were attempting to serve Lefferdink with a warrant for probation violation.

Lefferdink is listed on the state Department of Justice website as a violent offender. His criminal past included charges of robbery, burglary and issuing a bad check.

Dutton refused to say the names of the three deputies involved. He said the names will be released on Wednesday to give the deputies time to be with their families. The deputies are on paid administrative leave.

Dutton said authorities are looking for a "person of interest" to interview about the incident but there is no danger to the community.

"The deputies are safe. The citizens are safe," he said.

The state Division of Criminal Investigation was called in to investigate the shooting. An internal investigation will be conducted as well, Dutton said. In addition, a coroner's inquest will be held regarding the death.

DCI agents were on scene Monday taking photographs of a bullet-riddled BMW that Lefferdink was driving at the time of the incident. His body remained in the vehicle while crime scene investigators re-created the incident in the parking lot of the Helena Community Credit Union.

The silver BMW has Oregon plates and was not reported stolen. Dutton said officials are looking into finding the owner of the vehicle.

A gun could be seen on top of the car. Officials would not confirm if that was the gun used by Lefferdink. Standard protocol calls for all the officers' guns to be confiscated in circumstances such as this.

John Strandell, chief of the DCI Investigations Bureau, said he will coordinate with Dutton on releasing details of the shooting.

"The matter is under investigation," Strandell said. "We have a lot of work to do."

The Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Helena Police Department, Montana Highway Patrol and West Valley Volunteer Fire Department.

INITIAL REPORT:

 HELENA - Lewis and Clark County officials say one man is dead after an officer-involved shooting during a traffic stop north of Helena.

Sheriff Leo Dutton says three deputies exchanged gunfire with the man, and a total of 14 shots were fired. Dutton says no deputies were injured in the shooting at 11:35 p.m. Sunday.

Coroner Mickey Nelson has identified the man as 32-year-old Jeffery John Lefferdink.

The Independent Record reports that Lefferdink is listed on the Department of Justice website as a violent offender.

The state Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating. The deputies have been placed on paid administrative leave. Dutton says he will release their names on Wednesday.

Dutton says they are looking for a "person of interest" to interview, but there is no danger to the community.

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