Butte-Silver Bow County, Montana – A man believed to have an explosive device and a gun held at least one person hostage on a bus in Butte, Montana Wednesday afternoon. The majority of bus patrons disembarked before the standoff began. Police were still negotiating with the suspect as of this writing. The hostage “escaped” after a two hour standoff, leaving the suspect still on the bus.
UPDATE: The Montana Standard reported that the man, who has not yet been named, was arrested later in the evening after a nearly 10 hour standoff. Police told him to strip, and saw that he had a device clamped to his leg. The device was removed and the suspect stripped down to his purple underwear. There is one “on site” arrest listed on the Silver Bow County jail roster, but it is unclear if that person is the same one.
The Butte Civic Center nearby was evacuated, and streets blocked off.
A city employee who was evacuated reports that the suspect in a standoff is claiming to have a bomb and a gun, and took one hostage on the bus.
JP Gallagher, director of Butte parks and recreation, works in the Civic Center next to the bus transfer station.
Gallagher says the Jefferson Lines bus was on a route between Missoula and Billings when the bus stopped at the Butte transfer station because the suspect wanted to go to the courthouse.
Other passengers reportedly got off the bus before the standoff began.
Harrison Avenue is blocked off around the Civic Center.
SWAT was on scene at 1:55 p.m. Police tweeted that people needed to avoid the area as they work with the suspect.
The suspect reportedly held a gun to the driver’s head as he demanded to go to the courthouse. The driver stopped at the Butte Civic Center instead, and as the passengers and driver left the bus, one person was left behind as a hostage. The driver then disabled the bus so that the suspect would not be able to drive it, and called police. It didn’t go like the movies.
The bomb squad arrived at about 4:30 p.m. local time.
— Jayda McClendon – NBC Montana (@JaydaNBCMT) January 30, 2019
Featured photo: the Jefferson Lines bus parked at the Butte Civic Center, and a screenshot of the suspect. Both photos are from Twitter.
Note: Butte is pronounced “byoot.”