October 6, 2011 in City

Suspect in 3 Montana deaths found in Valley

 

A 22-year-old man accused of killing three people in Montana was arrested Wednesday near the Spokane Valley Mall.

Sheldon Bernard Chase was taken into custody without incident during a traffic stop about 4 p.m., said Frank Harrill, agent in charge of the Spokane office of the FBI.

“We do not believe there are any other subjects at large,” Harrill said.

Chase is suspected of using a rifle Tuesday to kill his 80-year-old grandmother, Gloria Sarah Goes Ahead Cummins; his cousin, 21-year-old Levon Driftwood; and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Rueben Jefferson.

The shootings happened at Cummins’ home about 10 miles outside Lodge Grass on the Crow Indian Reservation, Harrill said.

Chase was arrested just a few hours after a wanted flier was distributed to area law enforcement, authorities say.

The arrest was a coordinated effort of the Spokane Violent Crime Gang Enforcement Team, Spokane Police Patrol Anti-Crime Team, Spokane Valley Police, Bureau of Indian Affairs and FBI.

Eric Barnhart, FBI supervisor in Billings, told the Associated Press that investigators are still trying to piece together what led to the shooting.

“At this point, we still don’t know,” he said. “With some history of mental illness, that’s an X factor.”

Barnhart declined to release any details about the arrest.

Chase lives with his uncle in a mobile home near Cummins’ modest log house , city clerk Cody Not Afraid said.

On Wednesday, police tape stretched across Cummins’ property, and Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement officers kept onlookers from approaching.

Barnhart said authorities considered Chase to be armed and extremely dangerous. People in Lodge Grass described the victims and the suspect as coming from a prominent, well-respected family in the community. Chase moved there about a year ago from North Dakota, where he had grown up, and was attending Little Bighorn College, said the Rev. Jim Antoine, a priest at Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church in Lodge Grass.


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