Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On September 30, 2023, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to a vehicle crash and a report of someone with a gun near Roper’s Lounge in Lolo. 911 dispatch informed deputies that a male had reportedly driven his white pickup into a camper trailer and had fired a gun in the area of the camper trailer.  

Shortly thereafter, 911 provided additional information that the male had shot out a back window at Roper’s Lounge. While Deputies were responding, the male, later identified as 57-year-old Craig McBeath, was on the phone with 911 and was instructed to lay down on the ground. 

Deputies responded to the Roper’s Lounge. A sergeant was flagged down by an employee, who pointed him to where McBeath was lying prone on the ground. McBeath was then taken into custody. 

Three Juveniles Were in the Camper 

Deputies were then notified that three children had called 911 to say they were inside the camper and one was injured. The sergeant responded to the area and observed a white Ford truck, which was registered to McBeath, and a camper trailer, which had significant damage. The camper trailer had been pushed back approximately 20 feet and was turned approximately 90 degrees from its original location.  

The sergeant knocked on the camper door and found it to be locked, after announcing “Sheriff’s Office,” three juvenile females exited the camper. The juveniles were very clearly distressed and one reported head pain after hitting her head on something in the camper during the crash. A deputy ensured the juveniles were transported to receive medical care and he made contact with their mothers. 

Sergeant Speaks to Another Victim 

The sergeant next took a statement from a male who advised that he was driving a white Toyota Tacoma near Balsamroot just prior to the incident. He stated he was forced to pull off of the road to avoid an older white Ford or Chevy pickup, which was traveling at a very high rate of speed. The male described the driver as “gleeful” as he was driving recklessly. The male stated he may have been struck head-on had he not pulled off the road to avoid the vehicle. 

Deputies continued to conduct an investigation at Roper’s. They went to the back patio door of the bar entrance and found it to be shattered with a large amount of glass on the ground. Deputies also observed a scoped bolt action rifle lying on a picnic table. They found the rifle to be a Ruger M77, which contained a spent casing inside the chamber, as well as an unspent round in the magazine. They also found a spent .300 Win Mag casing on the ground, outside of the shattered glass door. 

Deputies transported McBeath to the Detention Center and while en route, McBeath stated, “The only accident was me hitting the trailer” and further stated, “I shot the gun but I hope to God I didn’t hit anybody.” McBeath went on to state he, “hit high enough to where hopefully nobody was hurt.” According to court documents, McBeath stated he shot the camper trailer, then shot the window out at the Roper’s bar. 

McBeath is currently being charged with three counts of felony assault with a weapon and four counts of felony criminal endangerment.  

The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable. 

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