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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Idaho fugitive well-known to Montana sheriff

Powell County Sheriff Scott Howard needs no refresher course on 57-year-old Mitchell L. Walck after overseeing a standoff about 11 years ago in western Montana that led to Walck’s arrest for shooting at his deputies.

Howard also remembers the death threats he received from Walck during the 10 years he was housed in Montana State Prison after assaulting a corrections deputy and beating him “pretty good.”

Walck was released last year after serving his sentence and is currently on the run from Idaho authorities after allegedly fleeing a traffic stop late Friday night and firing at an Idaho State Police officer and missing. The officer was not injured.

Kootenai County set Walck's bond at $1 million after he allegedly kidnapped a Rathdrum, Idaho, woman at gunpoint, stole her car and took her on a multiple state road trip before leaving her, unharmed in Glendive, Mont.

Authorities believe Walck is armed, dangerous and a threat to officers.

“I’m really concerned. He’s really weird character to explain in words,” Howard said. “He sees and hears a lot that are just not there.”

In the 2001 incident, when Howard's deputies approached the abandoned rancher near Drummond, Mont., they found Walck and his girlfriend inside the home. The girlfriend bolted to deputies and warned them that Walck intended to shoot and kill them, which led to the standoff, Howard said.

Howard recalled the strange things Walck would do during the standoff including putting down his rifle, jumping outside through a window and dancing. He’d jump back inside the home before he could be detained.

Howard coaxed him slowly out of the home and the SWAT team from Montana State Prison shot him with a rubber bullet which “knocked him senseless”, Howard said.

Deputies arrested Walck for burglary, theft, criminal trespass and and assault for shooting at deputies inside the rancher. He was booked into Powell County Jail where he began acting out and was placed into isolation, Howard said. When officers responded, he ambushed them and attacked the first officer through the door, he said.

The charges from the standoff were eventually thrown out due to a technicality, but Walck landed 10 years at Montana State Prison for assaulting a peace officer. He later sued Howard and the prison’s warden because “he truly believed he owned that property” where the standoff took place, Howard said.

“He wanted that property - and from the prison, he wanted the old slaughter house from out there,” Howard said. “He truly believes those things and those type of people in my opinion, and I’ve been doing this since ‘86, they’re dangerous people when they’re that way.”

However, Howard said if Walck came knocking at his door, “He’s not walking away.”

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