Great Falls, MT – A home intruder was shot by an off-duty Great Falls police officer early Monday morning after the suspect tried to break into the officer’s home, according to police.
The suspect allegedly tried to enter the off-duty officer’s residence at approximately 4:24 a.m. on Dec. 27, the Great Falls Police Department (GFPD) said in a news release Tuesday night.
The officer said he didn’t know the intruder prior to the break-in.
Details regarding the encounter have not been released, but police noted the “incident evolved to the point the officer fired a gun,” shooting the male suspect.
The wounded suspect was subsequently transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, according to the GFPD.
No other injuries were reported.
The GFPD has not released the identities of the officer or the suspect.
“Though this incident is isolated, it is complex and stressful for everyone involved,” the department said in the press release. “We appreciate your support and hope you will keep this officer and their family in your thoughts in the coming days. As we do the same for the injured male and his family.”
The Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is handling the ongoing investigation into the shooting at the request of Great Falls Police Chief Jeff Newton.
The officer who shot the suspect has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is being conducted, as per protocol.
Investigative findings will be forwarded to the Cascade County Attorney’s Office for review.
Hundreds of people voiced their support for the officer in response to the GFPD’s news release, which was posted to Facebook.
“Appears to me he picked the wrong house to break into,” one person wrote. “When you choose to illegally enter someone’s house in the middle of the night, you should realize the chance of getting shot is very high. Kudos to the man for defending his family and home. Maybe he will think twice before breaking into another home again. Next time he may not be lucky enough to survive.”
“He protected his family like he should have, like he should be able to protect the community without being ostracized,” another comment read. “Good job sir!!!”
Another person noted that the crime rates would plummet “if everyone was as well trained and prepared” as this officer had been.
“Everyone has the right to self-defense!” the comment read. “Much love and support to the [officer] and his family!”