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Jeffery Lefferdink
Jeffery Lefferdink

Jeffery John Lefferdink, a Helena man who exchanged fire with sheriff's deputies on Easter night, had three potentially fatal wounds, including one that appeared to be a self-inflicted shot to the head, according to officials.

Lewis and Clark County Coroner Mickey Nelson said that at one point during the incident deputies heard a sound come from the silver BMW Lefferdink was driving, and it was most likely him firing a handgun into his head.

Forensics tests still need to be done to determine who shot first and the order of the bullet wounds.

The gun was put on top of the car by emergency personnel while they checked to see if Lefferdink could be resuscitated. He died at the scene, Nelson said.

The shootout went on for about a minute.

Lefferdink was on the phone with his wife at the time of his death at 11:36 p.m. Sunday.

"That minute was an eternity to all involved," Nelson said.

The deputies involved were not injured.

Deputies were attempting to serve a warrant on Lefferdink, 32, when the shootout occurred.

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.

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

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