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MISSOULA -- A Missoula man is being held in the county jail on suspicion of beating and kicking his girlfriend as she wrapped her arms around her head to protect herself.

Shannon Houser, 36, is charged with felony partner assault.

Houser’s girlfriend called Missoula County sheriff’s deputies at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday from Walmart on Reserve Street, according to charging documents filed by Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg.

The woman told deputies that Houser attacked her during an argument in the camp where they live below the Reserve Street Bridge, according to Van Valkenburg’s affidavit.

A deputy noted that the woman’s face “was swollen and red around her mouth, chin and upper cheeks; she also had swelling on her left hand and wrist, which appeared to be defense wounds,” the affidavit said.

Deputies who interviewed Houser said that he appeared to be very intoxicated and that he blew a .168 on a breath test, twice the .08 limit for driving, according to the affidavit. His hands “had some swelling,” the affidavit said.

The woman is about 5 feet tall and may weigh less than 100 pounds; Houser is about 6 feet tall and weighs 170 pounds, it said.

Felony partner assault carries a maximum penalty of between 30 days and five years in prison and a fine of between $500 and $50,000.

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