By Brandon Smith
September 5, 2015 for most of us this date has no importance, just another ordinary Friday. As the week comes to an end I usually find myself downtown Missoula enjoying a beverage. Like any other UM student, I frequently attend the Missoula Club.
It was a typical Missoula Club experience, very packed, damp, loud, poorly maintained bathrooms, cheap drinks, and underage patrons. After receiving my first beer which took 15 minutes to get, I retreated outside to get some fresh air. Walking through the doorway I ran into an acquaintance. I hadn’t seen Pat for several weeks so I was eager to catch up with him. After a few minutes of conversation, a very intoxicated gentleman walked past the front of the Missoula Club. Both of us were cracking up as we watched him feebly attempting to walk down the street. This guy was your quintessential drunk bastard, you could have determined he was hammered from a hundred yards away. He was doing the classic drunk stagger, moving at the pace a zombie would. It looked as though he was in an epic battle against gravity, and gravity was winning. To our surprise the gentleman grabbed a pair of keys from his pocket, and proceeded to enter his vehicle. Jesus Christ I thought. Is this guy really trying to drive out of here? A few minutes passed and the gentleman was sitting in his car with the engine idling. I felt a sense of responsibility come over me. Should I really just watch this guy drive off, or should I go and say something? Before I mustered up the courage to confront the man it was too late. The gentleman did exactly what I was afraid of. After shifting into reverse the gentleman immediately backed into the car parked parallel to him. “Holy shit” I yelled, catching the attention of the other patrons standing outside. After realizing what he had done the gentleman quickly shifted into drive. In an attempt to flee the scene he floored it, ramming into another parked car. After seeing this I looked at Pat in utter disbelief. Without hesitation Pat ran up to the driver window. “Get the hell out of the car”, Pat yelled. Ignoring Pat the gentleman accelerated down the street.
At this point Pat and I were in the middle of the road, trying to get glimpse of where the gentleman was heading. As I looked down the street I noticed two people standing on the corner yelling at the gentleman to stop. Boom! From out of nowhere I heard the distinct sound of a firecracker. It took me a second to process what I had just heard. Wait a second I thought, that wasn’t a firecracker. After realizing the firecracker was in fact a gunshot I ran for cover behind a car. Boom! Boom! Boom! In a panic I frantically tried to figure who was doing the shooting, and from what direction. After several seconds I poked my head out to see what was going on. The gentleman’s car was stopped in the middle of the road. It turns out the two people standing on the corner were uniformed police officers doing their patrol on foot.
After gathering further information of the situation I discovered some interesting facts. The gentleman fleeing the scene was instructed to stop by the officers. After ignoring the order he proceeded to strike one of the officers with his vehicle. In response officers opened fire, shooting at the vehicle and the gentleman inside. Thankfully no one was killed or seriously injured. Within minutes of the incident every police officer in Missoula was downtown. The streets were filled with people trying to see what was going on. It looked like something out of a Law and Order episode. After it was all said and done I looked at Pat. Smirking I asked him if he wanted to get a beer. Laughing, Pat replied “A beer sounds nice.” To this day I find it crazy how a night at the Missoula Club can go from ordinary to crazy in a matter of seconds. From shots in the bar, to shots in the street.
If you interested for further details I posted the URL/Link to the news article below.
Photographs courtesy of
Asmi, Rehana. 2015. Missoula.
Vanni, Olivia. 2015. Missoula