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Warrant issued for man accused of shooting at kayakers

Daily Inter Lake | January 24, 2023 12:00 AM

A judge has issued a bench warrant for a man accused of shooting at kayakers after he failed to make a scheduled appearance in Flathead County District Court last week.

Jeffrey Allen Smith, 49, of Whitefish faces four counts of felony criminal endangerment in connection with the June 18 alleged shooting. Prosecutors initially brought him up on charges of assault with a weapon — he pleaded not guilty — but amended them in early November.

Smith was expected back in court on Jan. 19 for his arraignment on the new charges, but never appeared. Eddy’s warrant sets bail at $25,000 following Smith’s capture.

Deputies with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office took Smith into custody after one of the group of kayakers on Lower Stillwater Lake called 911 on June 18, court documents said. Arriving deputies reported hearing gunshots as they neared a boat launch in the area.

After securing Smith, deputies examined his parked minivan. They allegedly spotted “numerous firearms and ammunition” inside the vehicle. Authorities also recovered about 15 shotgun casings on the ground between the minivan and the lake’s edge, court documents said.

The kayakers returned to shore soon after and told investigators they dove into the water to avoid gunshots, according to court documents.

Criminal endangerment is punishable by up to 10 years in Montana State Prison and a $50,000 fine.

News Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or