At around 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, Missoula Police Officers responded to the area of Albertson’s and the YMCA on Russell Street for the report of a road rage incident. The complainant stated that a male had pulled a black handgun on him and cocked it before leaving the area. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh explains.

“As the officers were arriving, the complainant reported that the suspect was leaving a parking lot at that location and heading northbound on Russell Street,” Welsh said. “A responding officer observed this vehicle and initiated a traffic stop in the 3000 block of Russell. Officers made contact with the driver and identified him as 35-year-old Michael Dahl.”

Dahl was removed from his vehicle and handcuffed due to the proximity of the stop and the belief he was still armed. Dahl stated that he was “cut off” while driving. Dahl stated he parked in the Albertson’s parking lot and the other vehicle that had cut him off drove up, rolled down his window and spoke to him in a “threatening manner.”

Dahl admitted he used his gun he had in his car and cocked it in his lap. He stated he did not show it or point it at the other driver. Dahl consented to a search of his vehicle.

“During the investigation a small caliber handgun was recovered from the vehicle being operated by Mr. Dahl,” Welsh said. “The complainant later identified and confirmed that Mr. Dahl was the suspect. He reported that during a confrontation in the parking lot, Mr. Dahl had cycled the action on the handgun and pointed it at him through his own driver side door.”

Court documents indicate the magazine and gun were not loaded, however, a single unfired .22 LR round was located between the driver’s seat and the center console.

The complainant stated that he changed lanes just in front of Dahl. He stated that after doing so, Dahl honked his horn and gave him “the double finger.” According to the complainant, Dahl followed him and the two eventually came to a stop in the Albertson’s parking lot.

The complainant stated that he and Dahl ended up driver’s side to driver’s side and Dahl began yelling and cursing, stating “What are you doing? You cut me off!” Dahl continued to yell, stating “F this” and “F that.” The complainant stated that Dahl brandished a firearm, loaded a round into the chamber and racked the weapon.

The complainant stated that because his vehicle was higher than Dahl’s he could look down into Dahl’s vehicle and see the firearm was pointed at him. The complainant stated he believed Dahl was going to fire. The complainant was able to drive away, but as he did, he looked back to get Dahl’s license plate and then called 911.

Dahl was charged with one count of felony assault with a weapon.

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