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Investigation Into Missoula ‘Officer-Involved’ Shooting Finds Evidence Victim Died By Suicide

Missoula police car.
Cheri Trusler
Missoula police car.

A preliminary investigation into last week’s “officer-involved shooting” in Missoula finds the victim took his own life and was not killed by police gunfire.

That update was provided Monday afternoon by Bryan Lockerby, Administrator of the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation. DCI is leading the investigation into the incident.

“From our initial assessment, which is corroborated by dash cam video, Brendon Galbreath died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound that night,” Lockerby says.

Missoula police say the 21-year-old Galbreath was suspected of driving under the influence last week when an officer pulled him over, but Galbreath took off, leading to a high-speed chase.

It ended near the intersection of Stephens Avenue and Beckwith Street.

Lockerby describes a near-simultaneous chain of events that led the officer to draw his service weapon and fire.

“The driver’s gun discharged in the car. At the same time, the officer perceived that he was being shot at and returned fire with one shot.”

Lockerby says the round fired by the police officer did not hit Galbreath, but did strike his car. That bullet was recovered at the scene.

Lockerby says the findings are only preliminary and the investigation is far from complete.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
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