Missing Hiker Found

(West Yellowstone, Mont).

On Tuesday June 6, 2017, Gallatin County Search and Rescue completed their two and a half day search for an overdue hiker in the Beaver Creek area northwest of West Yellowstone, Montana.  At 11:30 this morning a search team including a k9 discovered the hiker, identified as  Mike Petersen of Bismark, North Dakota,  deceased a quarter mile south of the confluence of Beaver and West Fork Creeks.  A Gallatin County Sheriff’s Coroner will determine cause and manner of death.

The event began near 10:00 pm on Sunday evening with the report of a 42 year old male from North Dakota who failed to return to the designated rendezvous pick-up point. The Mr. Petersen has been in the Beaver Creek area several times over the past four (4) months, knew the area and had backcountry experience. He left on his hike with enough survival equipment to stay in the forest and signal for help.  Initial search activity included personnel from the West Yellowstone division of Gallatin County Search & Rescue, Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District, Air Methods helicopter and Two Bear Air Rescue Helicopter from the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.  Air Methods conducted an initial search by air until rainy weather forced them to land.  Two Bear Air picked up the air search a couple of hours later using Forward Looking Infa- red Radar throughout the early morning hours of Monday.  Air efforts then continued throughout Monday with Two Bear Air, while they also assisted in moving ground resources into the designated search zone.

Mondays ground search efforts consisted of 25 individuals from Gallatin County Search & Rescue crews from West Yellowstone, Big Sky, and the Gallatin valley; National Forest Service Personnel, Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District, and three K-9 dog search teams.

Tuesday’s continued search efforts involved the same personnel from Monday with additional air resources from Central Helicopter, and ground teams from Madison County SAR, Ruby Valley SAR, and Department of Livestock. The total ground personnel was in excess of 40 individuals.

Gallatin County Sheriff’s office would like to offer his condolences to the family of this tragic accident and to thank all of the volunteers who came together in this very large scale search and rescue event.  Sheriff Gootkin commented that in the last few weeks water tragedies are all to common.  He said “Especially this time of year when water levels are high extra caution around water is needed.”

Photo courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office.




Posted in Media Release | Comments Off on Missing Hiker Found

Sad Sunday

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  Sunday, May 28th, at 6:00 pm, Gallatin County 911 received a report of a nine year old girl that slipped and fell into Arch Falls along Hyalite Creek and had not resurfaced. The call to dispatch was delayed due to the hike and drive time it took for the reporting party to get to cell phone service near the entrance to Hyalite Canyon.​The Sheriff’s Office, Hyalite Fire Department, AMR, Reach Air, Central Helicopters, and the Water rescue, SAR Posse, Alpine, Radio/Hams, and Hasty groups of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to the scene. While ground crews made their way to the scene on foot and ATVs, helicopters searched the creek from the air. Hiline Productions also responded with a drone to assist in the search. In addition to searching, Central Helicopters used a sling to carry equipment to search and rescue members at the falls.

​The swift, near freezing water from the spring run-off, along with numerous terrain hazards including log-jams, made rescue efforts extremely dangerous. Specialized equipment and a series of rope riggings had to be used by rescuers.

​Around 9:30 pm, rescuers were able to recover the girl, identified as Juliana Currie, from a log-jam right below the falls.

​Sheriff Gootkin stated that our hearts ache for the family. Despite the massive rescue effort and the skills of the search and rescue volunteeers sometimes things don’t turn out like we hoped they would. He would like to remind everyone that running water, even small creeks, streams, and ditches, can become extremely dangerous during the spring run-off. The water can be deceivingly swift, cold, and murky. ##### 

Posted in Media Release | Comments Off on Sad Sunday

Text of Sheriff Gootkin’s Press Conference

(Bozeman, Mont.) Following is the text of the prepared statement delivered by Sheriff Gootkin at todays press conference.

Please direct any additional questions or comments to 406-582-2125, or sheriff@galllatin.mt.gov.  Any updates or press releases will be available online at www.Gallatinmedia.Org.

At 5:08pm yesterday, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a report of an assault. When Deputies arrived, Greg Gianforte cooperated by providing an initial statement.  Upon conclusion of the statement, he left the area.  At the time that he left the premises, he was not under arrest and the investigation continued.

The Deputies recognized this would attract significant public interest, and as a result, Detectives were immediately contacted to assist with the investigation. The victim was transported to the hospital for evaluation.  Detectives responded to meet with the victim at the hospital.  Witnesses were escorted to the Law and Justice Center for interviews.

As interviews were being conducted, Greg Gianforte’s attorney contacted our office. It was at this time we communicated our desire to obtain a follow up interview.  This request was later declined, and we were asked to direct all further communications to the attorney.  Every citizen is guaranteed their right to an attorney, and cannot be compelled to provide a statement.

The Detectives determined probable cause existed to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault. The State of Montana has two Assault charges.

  1. “Assault- a person commits the offense of assault if the person: purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another”.  This is a misdemeanor.
  2. “Aggravated Assault- A person commits the offense of aggravated assault if the person purposely or knowingly causes serious bodily injury to another or purposely or knowingly, with the use of physical force of contact, causes reasonable apprehension of serious bodily injury or death in another”.  This is a Felony.

Serious bodily injury is defined in Montana State Statute as Bodily injury that involves:

  1. A substantial risk of death.
  2. Extreme physical pain.
  3. Protracted and obvious disfigurement; or
  4. Protracted impairment of the function of, or loss of, a bodily member, organ or mental faculty.

In this case, the victim did not sustain serious bodily injury, as defined by Montana State Statute, nor did he communicate reasonable apprehension of serious bodily injury at any time during the investigation. Reasonable apprehension is determined throughout the course of an investigation.  This is the reason why Law Enforcement conducts investigations without jumping to conclusions.

There was no existing circumstance that required immediate arrest; no threat to public safety, no further threat to the victim, and the suspect was not a flight risk. Our Deputies frequently investigate incidents similar to this. Based on the facts gathered during the investigation, through interviews, and collection of evidence, probable cause existed to issue a Notice to Appear to Greg Gianforte for the offense of misdemeanor assault, for which he is ordered to appear by June 7th in Gallatin County Justice Court.  At this time, the case has been referred to the Gallatin County Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

I want to address my campaign contribution to Greg Gianforte back in March, when he announced his candidacy for US Congress. I apologize for not mentioning this in my press conference last night.  The reason it never crossed my mind was that we were busy investigating this incident.  There have also been questions and concerns that because of the contribution, there may be a conflict of interest and another agency should have investigated.  I respectfully disagree.  The citizens of Gallatin County elected me to do a job and this incident occurred in our county and was our responsibility to investigate.  The contribution made in March has absolutely nothing to do with my duties and responsibilities as the Gallatin County Sheriff or this investigation. #####

Posted in Media Release | Comments Off on Text of Sheriff Gootkin’s Press Conference

Update On Sheriff’s Press Conference

Due to the number of press outlets seeking to attend this press conference, the media outlets will begin setup at 2:00 p.m. and the conference will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Posted in Media Release | Comments Off on Update On Sheriff’s Press Conference

Sheriff To Give Press Release on Gianforte Incident

Sheriff Gootkin will be holding a press conference today at 2:00 pm at the Gallatin County Detention Center. The Detention Center is located at 605 S.16th Ave.


Posted in Media Release | Comments Off on Sheriff To Give Press Release on Gianforte Incident

Press Conference to be Scheduled for Thursday

(Bozeman, Mont.)  Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin announced this morning that he will hold a press conference today, Thursday, May 25 at the Gallatin County Detention Center 605 South 16th Ave. Bozeman, Mt. The time will be announced later.  Questions or comments can be directed to Sheriff@gallatin.mt.gov or 406-582-2125.

Posted in Media Release | Comments Off on Press Conference to be Scheduled for Thursday

Update on Assault Investigation

(Bozeman, Mont.) From Sheriff Brian Gootkin;

At 5:08 pm this evening our Deputies responded to Discovery Drive for a reported assault.  The text of the initial report to the 911 center follows:

-111.068258 +45.653654 21 CALLBK=PH 2 21 M
Recommend Unit Command opened on event S1705240107
Recommend Unit Command opened on event f201703380
** Case number R201700166 has been assigned for FIRE:HFD
** Case number A1705240007 has been assigned for EMS:AMR
** >>>> by: JAKE ALLMENDINGER on terminal: gc911eccop3v92
** >>>> by: JAKE ALLMENDINGER on terminal: gc911eccop3v92
Ending Transport Mileage: 3.4

Earlier this evening I conducted a press conference about an incident that occurred at Greg Gianforte’s campaign headquarters.  After the press conference it was brought to my attention that people were commenting on a contribution that I made to the Gianforte campaign.  I did contribute $250.00 on March 23, 2017.  This contribution has nothing to do with our investigation which is now complete.

Following multiple interviews and an investigation by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office it was determined there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault (MCA 45-5-201).  The nature of the injuries did not meet the statutory elements of felony assault.  Greg Gianforte received a citation on Wednesday night and is scheduled to appear in Gallatin County Justice Court between now and June 7, 2017.

45-5-201. Assault. (1) A person commits the offense of assault if the person:

(a) purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another;

(b) negligently causes bodily injury to another with a weapon;

(c) purposely or knowingly makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any individual; or

(d) purposely or knowingly causes reasonable apprehension of bodily injury in another.

(2) A person convicted of assault shall be fined not to exceed $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for any term not to exceed 6 months, or both. ######

Posted in Media Release | Comments Off on Update on Assault Investigation

Press Conference

(Gallatin County, Mont.) Sheriff Brian Gootkin will hold a press conference tonight, Wednesday May 24 at 8:00 p.m. at the Gallatin County Detention Center Community Room 605 South 16th Ave. Bozeman, Mt.

The Gallatin County 911 Center does not have any information that was not contained in the previous press release please do not call them.

Posted in Media Release | Comments Off on Press Conference

Sheriff’s Office Investigating Assault Report

(Bozeman, Mont.) The Gallatin County Sheriffs Office is currently investigating allegations of an assault involving Greg Gianforte. We will provide a press release with more information when appropriate.  The investigation is ongoing.

Posted in Media Release | Comments Off on Sheriff’s Office Investigating Assault Report

Sheriff Gootkin Expresses Appreciation for the Help on Moore Funeral

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  “Yesterday was an incredible event and shows how truly blessed we are to live in a place where our communities overwhelmingly support us.  They are why we do what we do and Mason was a shining example of that!” Sheriff Gootkin said Wednesday.

Emergency responders from around the state and country came to pay their respects to Deputy Mason Moore. The service was attended by over 1700 people at the church and two overflow venues, and seen by hundreds more over the internet. More than 100 agencies sent 1000 public safety representatives and 610 vehicles for the procession, which stretched 7.3 miles and took nearly an hour to leave Belgrade after the service. These agencies included all local law enforcement and fire agencies; federal, state, and local agencies from all over Montana; and law enforcement from Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, Texas, Chicago, New York, Ontario (Canada), and others.

Planning for the event was done by multiple state and local agencies, including Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office, Lewis and Clark Sheriff’s Office, Belgrade Police Department, Montana Highway Patrol, Bozeman Police Department, Central Valley Fire, Big Sky Fire, state and local Disaster and Emergency Services offices, DNRC, and the Forest Service. Roughly 150 people pitched in on Tuesday to help the funeral go smoothly.  That does not include the dozens of community members that pitched in.  Gootkin said “I am sure the number of cookies baked in Three Forks this week set some kind of record. ”  #####


Posted in Media Release | Comments Off on Sheriff Gootkin Expresses Appreciation for the Help on Moore Funeral