The small town of Clyde Park in Park County was the scene of yet another homicide investigation, adding to the list of the many homicides that have occurred in Montana already this year.
“This morning felt a little off, you know. I don’t know if you’ve experienced days like that where something just feels off,” said Clyde Park resident Cassi DeFendis.
That’s the reaction Cassi felt when she noticed police activity as she walked her kids to school, as Park County Sheriff's deputies investigated an early morning homicide in Clyde Park.
“Around 4:50 this morning the Sheriff’s Office received calls of a disturbance, caller stating that a male individual had been shot and the suspect had fled the scene,” said Park County Sheriff Brad Bichler.
According to Sheriff Bichler when deputies arrived, they performed life-saving measures but they were unable to resuscitate the victim.
“Subject appeared to have expired due to a gunshot wound,” Bichler said.
The homicide in Clyde Park adds to an already deadly start to the year in Montana. Only a week into February, the state has already seen 3 deaths this month, including another teen shot to death in Billings and a homicide in Sidney last week. January saw seven shootings incidents across the state which resulted in 10 people dying.
Bichler says a member of the community was able to tip law enforcement on the location of the suspect.
“Whenever the community comes alongside law enforcement to help us with this, it brings this to a rapid close,” said Bichler.
DeFendis says that community support gives her peace of mind.
“With a tight-knit community, things like this do get handled pretty quick. We look out for each other a bit,” she said.
That isn’t to say she is still shocked by what happened in her own backyard.
“You figure that with a small town like this in Montana that the worst you have to worry about is cougars,” DeFendis said.
Right now the homicide is still under investigation. The suspect is set to appear in court.