deer lodge shootout dec 10

DEER LODGE - A suspect has been airlifted to a Missoula hospital after reportedly exchanging gunfire with officers Monday morning.

Powell County Sheriff Scott Howard says the incident started on Sunday night when officers responded to a verbal altercation between the suspect and his girlfriend. Police responded and took the man to a motel, while the woman left town.

Howard says on Monday morning, the man returned to their residence on 800 Higgins Avenue and found that the woman had gone, and allegedly called her and threatened to shoot her. He then started firing a handgun in the backyard, according to a 911 caller.

Officers responded around 8:40 AM and he allegedly shot at a Powell County deputy's vehicle. The officer returned fire and hit the suspect in his right elbow.

The suspect allegedly barricaded himself inside the house for a few hours, but eventually called 911 requesting help because he was shot. First responders put him on an air ambulance to St. Patrick Providence Hospital in Missoula.

Powell County schools were placed on lockdown until the incident ended around 11:30 AM, Howard says.

The suspect's name has not been released, pending charges of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.

Montana Highway Patrol troopers also responded. State authorities will take over investigation of the event.

No one was else was hurt in the standoff.

-Reporting by Brooke McCarthy, ABC FOX Montana

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