July 1, 1995 in Idaho

Man Takes Four Women Hostage In Bar

Associated Press

A man with a pistol took four women hostage in one of Alberton’s two bars Friday night, herding all others out with a warning that he would kill anyone who approached.

The gunman fired one shot when he captured the dozen or so patrons and workers in Chet’s Bar and fired seven more shots after herding all but the four women out the door, some of the former customers said.

“He’s got four hostages and they’re all women,” said Jim Tangen, one of those released. “He kept all the younger ones. All the older ones were sent out.”

Tangen said the man held the pistol to Vendy’s head as he ordered others out of the bar.

Sheriff’s officers from Missoula and Mineral counties and Highway Patrol officers surrounded the area and established contact with the gunman by a cordless telephone, the former customers said.

Linda Ehlmann, a customer ordered out of the nearby Sportsman’s Bar when police emptied the town’s small business district, said one hostage, co-owner Vendy Miner, telephoned word to her husband, Gary, that no one had been hurt.

Those the gunman released did not know the man’s name, but said he moved to the Alberton area about two months ago and was frequently in the bar but had never caused trouble before.

They said he gave no reason when he captured the group.

“I was the last one out,’ said Ellie Blackman. “He says, ‘Vendy, you close the door now, and if anybody comes near it I’m blowing ‘em away.”’

Alberton is a town of about 350 in the mountains 30 miles west of Missoula.


© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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