A Trout Creek man remains in the Sanders County Jail on $100,000 bond while facing several felony charges in relation to a recent incident where he is accused of arson and firing a gun.
According to court documents, West Bowen Flockerzi was recently charged with attempted arson, assault with a weapon, two counts of criminal endangerment, and assault on a peace officer.
If found guilty on all counts, Flockerzi faces a maximum of 62 years in the Montana State Prison.
According to the criminal complaint, a person said a man, later identified as Flockerzi, arrived at the front door of the Lakeside Hotel in Trout Creek and told the person that he was going to “burn this (expletive) down.”
When a Sanders County deputy sheriff arrived, he spoke with the manager of the hotel who said another hotel employee said Flockerzi had set the door on fire.
The manager said he saw flames and could see Flockerzi trying to light something in a bottle.
When the manager opened the door and yelled at Flockerzi, he allegedly raised a scoped, bolt action rifle and pointed it at the manager and told him “back up or I’ll kill ya.”
The manager then left and called 911. When an officer arrived, several people told him that “Wes” left in dark-colored Subaru and turned left on to Fir Street. Shortly after, they heard four gunshots and then a fifth.
Another person said he watched Flockerzi fill a plastic bottle with diesel fuel at a gas station across the road from the hotel. Then, a deputy heard one gunshot southeast from where he stood and other people said it was the fifth or sixth gunshot they heard since Flockerzi drove away.
The deputy then began to photograph the scene and damages and another deputy arrived. While they talked about what happened, they heard the sound of a vehicle trying to stop on loose gravel followed by two gunshots.
When one of the deputies got on the highway, he could see a pickup truck facing him. The deputy had his service weapon drawn and yelled to the driver of the truck to turn it off. The deputy said Flockerzi revved the truck before taking off, heading west on Highway 200.
When the truck drove past both deputies, its lights were turned off and by the time they pursued it, it was out of sight, according to the complaint.
After continuing on Highway 200, both turned back in the belief that Flockerzi had doubled back. When they returned, one deputy spoke to the owner’s brother, who co-owns the hotel. He showed him video of a man carrying a dark-colored, scoped bolt-action rifle and a clear plastic bottle of fluid and a stick.
The man splashed fluid from the bottle at the door, then lit a mass attached to the end of the stick. The deputy asked the co-owner to email him the video, which he said would.
Another man arrived at the scene and told one of the deputies that someone had fired a round through his window. Deputies then discovered other bullet holes through a window of the motel room, another bullet through a window into the laundry. The bullet that entered the hotel hit a handrail to a set of stairs, struck a metal bracket and fragmented into the wood paneling.
More people approached the deputies, explaining that Flockerzi’s girlfriend worked in Lakeside and they were sure his behavior had something to do with her. When a deputy spoke to her, she said she hadn’t seen him in a week. She said she didn’t know what his problem was but was concerned about her kids that were home.
Meanwhile the search for Flockerzi continued and it was learned that he took refuge in his father’s home.
The next day, the Missoula County SWAT team arrived and a flash bang grenade and a few dozen rounds of tear gas were fired into the residence. Then Flockerzi, who had been hiding in the crawl space under the mobile home, came out and pointed a rifle at one of the SWAT team members.
The officer, who feared being shot, fired at Flockerzi, but missed. Flockerzi then returned inside the mobile home, but soon came out and surrendered.