21 year-old Adam Gallegos was working the graveyard shift at Ole's Country Store in East Missoula on Friday morning when his life was changed forever.

A masked man entered the store carrying a scoped .22 caliber rifle and demanded money. When Gallegos refused, the man took aim and shot him, the bullet traveling downward through his shoulder, destroying his right lung. Gallegos stumbled into the casino next door where employees called 9-1-1. Senior Deputy 2 Bill Burt was one of the first on the scene. Gallegos told him that he thought he knew the identity of the man who fired the rifle.

After Missoula County Sheriff's detectives investigated, they arrested 23 year-old Christopher Lee Burch and 24 year-old Preston James Hannah on charges of felony robbery and attempted deliberate homicide. Both are in the Missoula county jail on $500,000 bond.

Sheriff's department spokesman Jason Johnson says after several surgeries, Gallegos' condition has improved to critical but stable. The Gallegos family is asking for privacy at this time, so that Adam can begin the process of recovery. Johnson released a statement from Adam's aunt Kimberly that reads

“Adam and our family would like to first thank everyone who was there to help him when he was shot.  The East Missoula Fire Department members, Missoula Emergency Services Ambulance crew, the Sheriff’s Office Deputies and St. Patrick Hospital Doctors and staff all did amazing things that helped save Adams life.

Adam sustained terrible injuries, several major internal injuries including the loss of his right lung.  Adam is extremely tough and although his condition is now “medically stable” he has a long recovery ahead of him.

Adam is a fun loving, friendly, easy going, hard working guy.  We are grateful to the Missoula community for sending their thoughts and prayers.  We don’t want to offend anyone but please allow the family some time and privacy during this difficult time.  Thank you”

~Kimberly Gallegos
Donation buckets are set up at Ole’s in East Missoula and Ole’s on Orange Street and a Community Benefit fund should be set up at the Missoula Federal Credit Union by the end of the week.

Sheriff's Department spokesman Jason Johnson