Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Man arrested after long police standoff

Suspect charged with misdemeanor domestic battery


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Officers from the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office keep watch on a home in the Bellevue Triangle on Wednesday afternoon following a domestic situation that led to a police standoff after it was reported that a man might have a gun. Photo by David N. Seelig

An 18-year-old Bellevue man was arrested Wednesday on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge following a standoff with police for more than five hours in the Bellevue Triangle.

Christopher Downhill was taken into custody at about 5:30 p.m. at his home at 101 Price Lane south of Bellevue. He remained incarcerated Thursday in the Blaine County jail awaiting arraignment later in the day in Blaine County Magistrate Court.

"It's a domestic, so he won't have a bond until he sees the judge," said Blaine County Sheriff's Lt. Jay Davis.

The Sheriff's Office was called to the home because of a reported domestic disturbance shortly after noon. Davis said officers took precautions with the situation because they were informed that Downhill might be armed.

"Guns were found in his pickup, which had the door open. However, he didn't have a gun on his person," Davis said.

Davis said 10 officers were dispatched to the scene, including command staff and the county's SWAT team, called the Sheriff's Emergency Response Team.

He said the domestic situation started that morning when Downhill allegedly battered his wife. He said that initially she left the home, but Downhill wouldn't allow her to take the couple's baby. Once officers arrived, Davis said, Downhill left the child on a woodpile, to be retrieved by the woman, and then entered a camper trailer adjacent to the home.

"We were never able to negotiate with him," Davis said. "We just surrounded the place and let things cool off and tried to make contact with him and then slowly closed in."

Davis said Downhill left the camper at about 5:30 p.m. but police were in positions that wouldn't allow him to escape.

"We were waiting him out and finally he came out and ran into us and we took him into custody," Davis said. "He knew we were there, but I don't know if he knew how close we were."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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