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Prosecutors: Acquaintances worried Whitefish man might commit mass shooting

by DERRICK PERKINS
Daily Inter Lake | May 24, 2022 12:00 AM

Friends and family of a Whitefish man arrested during an armed standoff in April worried the man might commit a mass shooting, court documents say.

Quinn Garrett Lewis, 43, is being held in the Flathead County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond. He pleaded not guilty to assault with a weapon in district court on May 18.

In court documents, prosecutors said they asked for the large sum because of Lewis’ access to cash, past brushes with the law, worsening mental health and a personal arsenal of weapons found in his Armory Road cabin after his arrest. The cache allegedly included loaded “assault rifles.”

“Lewis’ mental health has reportedly deteriorated and given these recent events his peers are increasingly concerned about his potential to commit a mass shooting,” wrote Deputy County Attorney Andrew Clegg.

Just days before the April 27 standoff, Lewis allegedly aimed a gun at another person inside a Whitefish bar, Clegg wrote. The victim in that case failed to cooperate with investigators. Lewis, meanwhile, told people he had killed someone at the bar, according to Clegg.

“Given the crime, maximum penalty, his standoff with law enforcement and homicidal ideations, together with his reported access to at least $40,000 in cash; a high bond amount is appropriate in this case to not only ensure his presence in court, but to protect the victims, the defendant, himself, and the community as a whole,” Clegg wrote.

ON THE night of his arrest, Lewis allegedly threatened his father outside of the older man’s home near Whitefish. According to a press release issued by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Lewis pointed a gun at his father. Court documents say he fired off two rounds from a .44 caliber revolver prior to telling his father to go inside.

The older man retreated and dialed 911 at about 7:59 p.m., according to court documents.

Deputies joined officers from the Whitefish and Columbia Falls police departments in responding to the call. When they caught up with Lewis, who was driving a pickup, officers saw him pointing a handgun at the vehicle’s roof.

After evading several attempts to stop him, Lewis parked near the intersection of Halfmoon Road and Tamarack Lane. He briefly left the truck to dance around before hopping back inside the cab, court documents said.

Officers on scene also reported being lit up by a green laser, the type typically used on a gun barrel, according to court documents.

Lewis was arrested with the arrival of SWAT. Authorities allegedly found multiple firearms, including a .44 revolver, inside the truck. They also removed open alcohol containers, court documents said.

“[Lewis’] reputation is that of a smart, college educated man whose actions have become increasingly violent,” Clegg wrote in the charging documents.

After accepting Lewis’ not guilty plea last week, Judge Dan Wilson set an omnibus hearing for June 8. Lewis is expected back in the courtroom on July 27 for a pretrial hearing.

News Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or dperkins@dailyinterlake.com.

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