032520 Basin search.jpg

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Susan Butz, foreground, and a Montana Highway Patrol officer are stationed at a roadblock at Quartz Avenue and Basin Creek Road in Basin March 22. They were among numerous law enforcement officers searching for a man reported seen shortly after noon walking with three rifles and firing at least one of them, Sheriff Craig Doolittle said in an email. The man, identified as Russell Howald, was seen at a distance by a deputy, but eluded apprehension until Monday afternoon when he was arrested 4.5 miles up Basin Creek Road, Doolittle wrote. Additional details about Howald’s arrest and what charges he might face were unavailable at press time. 

A man arrested March 23 in Basin after eluding capture for little over a day may face 12 felonies when his case reaches Montana Fifth Judicial District Court in Boulder. Meanwhile, he remained in the Jefferson County Detention center Monday with bail set at $250,000.

The investigation of the actions leading to the arrest of John Russel Howald, 43, was ongoing, Sheriff Craig Doolittle said by email Monday. Doolittle previously stated that Howald was being held on suspicion of 11 felony counts of criminal endangerment, one felony count of assault on a peace officer and one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.

Howald attracted the attention of law enforcement March 22, when shortly after noon he was reported seen walking in Basin with three rifles and firing at least one of them. He eluded capture until the next afternoon, when he was arrested 4.5 miles up Basin Creek Road.

Additional details of Howald’s actions and arrest were not provided by Monday.

Once the Sheriff’s Office investigation is completed, the case will be sent to the Office of the County Attorney, which will determine what charges to pursue in District Court.

Doolittle did not know Monday when that handoff might occur.

“At this point it is still being investigated and followed up on,” he wrote.

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