A transient from Philipsburg has been identified as the man who stood in the path of an oncoming Montana Rail Link train Monday evening near the Deer Creek shooting range, and was struck and killed without attempting to get out of the way.

Missoula County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Paige Pavalone released the name of the victim as Nathaniel Eli Christianson, 42, a transient with family in the Philipsburg area.

"Engineers reported that a man was in the tracks and did not move when the oncoming train was coming right towards him," Pavalone said. "9-1-1 was notified and deputies were dispatched out there, and it was determined that it was a fatality. They recovered the body and sent it to the Montana State Crime Lab in Missoula."

Pavalone said that authorities are convinced that the act was a suicide.

"After speaking with family, it sounds like he had a history of talking about self-harm and ending his life," Pavalone said. "He waited in the tracks, acknowledged that the train was coming and didn't move."

Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Paige Pavalone


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