Belfry woman stopped for suspected DUI dies from self-inflicted gunshot
A Belfry woman shot and killed herself when she was pulled over on a DUI traffic stop by Columbus police late Saturday night.
Jamie B. Porter, 48, has been identified as the driver by Park County Coroner Al Jenkins. Porter most recently lived in Belfry.
Columbus Police Officer Kelly Mason was not injured.
On Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, Mason conducted a traffic stop at 11:39 p.m. in the area of Ninth Street and First Avenue involving a possible drunk driver, according to Columbus Police Chief Jacob Ward and Stillwater County Sheriff’s dispatch records,
At 11:43 p.m. Mason reported the female driver was “refusing to get out of the vehicle.” Two minutes later, the officer reported shots fired and requested Columbus Fire Rescue respond for medical assistance, according to dispatch records.
Shortly after, Mason reported that the driver was dead. Columbus police, Stillwater County Sheriff’s deputies and Montana Highway Patrol were immediately sent to the scene.
A gun was removed from the vehicle and the woman’s body was taken to the Stillwater Billings Clinic by ambulance, where the coroner was summoned, according to dispatch records.
An investigation is underway as the incident is considered an “in-custody” death. Ward explained the term “in custody” means “any time a law enforcement officer conducts a traffic stop and the driver is not free to leave, by definition the driver is in custody.”
The Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation was in Columbus before sunrise Sunday morning, having been requested by Ward to investigate the incident. Ward said that any time an “in custody” death occurs a law enforcement agency not involved with the incident is requested to conduct an investigation.
Mason has been placed on administrative leave with pay per department policy, pending the investigation.
Ward said Tuesday afternoon that an autopsy has been scheduled and that a Coroner’s Inquest will also be held at the conclusion of the DCI investigation.