Kalispell, MT – An armed Good Samaritan took down an active shooter outside a fitness center late last week.
The violence erupted in the parking lot of the Fuel Fitness gym located at 1305 Highway 2 West at approximately 10:52 a.m. on Sept. 16, KTVM reported.
Sources told the news outlet that Fuel Fitness Manager Matthew David Hurley, 27, and Assistant Manager Matthew Underhill had gone outside to speak with a homeless man who was sleeping in the back parking lot of the business.
Hurley and Underhill were trying to talk to the man about a refund he wanted for an unused gym membership, but an argument erupted after the man demanded more money than they were offering, Underhill later told KTVM.
When Hurley and Underhill refused to agree to the suspect’s terms, the man told them they were “going to die today” and started shooting at them, Underhill said.
Underhill said he was able to escape, but that Hurley was fatally shot during the attack.
Fuel Fitness gym member William Keck said he happened to be heading out of the business to get his wallet from his vehicle when he heard gunfire, KTVM reported.
A manager told him Hurley had been shot, so Keck ran to his vehicle and grabbed his gun.
Keck said he warned the suspect to stop shooting, at which point the gunman opened fire on him, KTVM reported.
The Good Samaritan returned fire, hitting the suspect.
The gunman collapsed to the ground and Keck ordered him to stay there, but the shooter fired two more rounds at him and hit him in his thigh, Keck told KTVM.
Keck said he grabbed his dog from his vehicle and got himself inside the business to find medical help.
Kalispell police, Flathead County deputies, and Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) troopers responded to the shots-fired call and found the gunman and Keck suffering from gunshot wounds, KTVM reported.
Hurley, who just got engaged earlier this year, was deceased when police arrived.
Keck and the suspect were both transported to Logan Health for treatment of their wounds.
The unnamed suspect remains hospitalized in unknown condition, KTVM reported.
I’m here at Fuel Fitness where Kalispell Police Department confirmed one male deceased and two males with gunshot wounds were transported to Logan Health. pic.twitter.com/DRvhqIpIO0
— Dominic Vitiello (@DominicNBCMT) September 16, 2021
Kalispell Police Chief Doug Overman said the department submitted its case to the Flathead County Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, and that the suspect’s name will be released once formal charges are filed, according to the Daily Inter Lake.
Keck has been released from the hospital and is recovering from his gunshot wound.
He said he doesn’t see himself as a hero and he was quick to note that people have mistakenly labeled him as a military veteran, KTVM reported.
“I am not a vet [veteran]. I’m just an American Montana man who loves his country and community and was put in a spot where God used me to do what I could. I’m not a hero,” Keck said. “I just did what I thought was right.”
The Good Samaritan said he has no regrets about how he handled the situation.
“The only thing that bothers me traumatically from this event was seeing Matt Hurley on the ground,” he told KTVM. “In the exchange with him [the suspect], I knew he had just killed someone. Who else is he gonna kill?”
Hurley’s father, David Hurley, told the Daily Inter Lake his son was “a genuinely sweet kid who grew up to be a terrific young man and was deeply loved by so many that had the fortune to know him.”
“He will be so missed and fondly remembered,” he said.
A vigil is being held tonight for Matt Hurley who was killed yesterday after a gunman open fired after a dispute. A second vigil will be held tomorrow by the community of Kalispell. #mtnews pic.twitter.com/3N3cPdlmKf
— Dominic Vitiello (@DominicNBCMT) September 18, 2021
David Hurley said he has been able to speak with Keck about the actions he took that day, the Daily Inter Lake reported.
“Last night I finally met the man who tried to protect my son,” David Hurley said in a social media post, according to the paper. “While it was too late for Matt, he was able to stop the man who murdered my son by grabbing his gun and shooting him before taking a bullet in his leg.”
“His selfless actions saved countless lives in the Gym. He is the true hero of this tragic day,” the grieving father wrote. “Thank you, William Keck, from the Hurley and Keith families.”
Keck said he believes it is important for people to be prepared and to know how to use firearms responsibly, KTVM reported.
“My motto in life is to have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it,” he said. “I firmly believe in the right to bear arms, and this is an example why.”