The State of Montana Department of Criminal Investigation, in conjunction with the Missoula Police Department has confirmed that the cause of death of 21 year-old Brendon Galbreath last Thursday was suicide.

Administrator of the Department of Criminal Investigation Brian Lockerby has details.

“Following our field investigation which included initial interviews, crime scene assessment, ballistic analysis, and video review, the unfortunate and tragic event that occurred the early morning of Thursday, August 12th strongly indicates that the driver involved in the Missoula Police Department pursuit died by suicide when the chase ended,” said Lockerby.

Lockerby said the police chase turned into a high stress incident with many moving parts.

“This was a critical incident that occurred in the middle of the night and included a high speed, high stress vehicle pursuit through the community of Missoula, placing a number of citizens at risk,” he said. “The chase was ended by a successful pit maneuver that stopped the vehicle at the intersection of Stevens and Florence.”

Lockerby then described moment by moment what occurred early Thursday morning.

“The officer reported seeing the driver still seated, raising up a handgun coinciding with the officer bringing his duty weapon towards the threat,” he said. “The subsequent series of events that took place in a matter of seconds, almost simultaneously as the driver’s gun discharged in the car. At the same time, the officer perceived that he was being shot at and returned fire with one shot. From our initial assessment, which is corroborated by dash cam video, Brendon Galbreath died of a self inflicted gunshot wound that night.”

Lockerby was careful to add that the full investigation must take its course.

“I must stress that this is only our initial assessment, and the investigation is far from complete,” he said. “Critical incidents always require great scrutiny and methodical investigation, which means they take considerable time to complete. There are witnesses to interview, videos to assess both dash cam and body cam, 9-1-1 recordings, crime scene reconstruction, autopsy results, toxicology reports and a complete review of the entire timeline of events leading up to this tragic night.”

Missoula Police Chief Jaeson White appeared in a video introducing Lockerby with the explanation of the incident that night.

 

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