Man Throws a Molotov Cocktail Inside a Missoula Restaurant
On September 6, 2022, at approximately 5:14 p.m., a Missoula Police Department Officer responded to a road rage incident that occurred on Old Grant Creek Road. When the officer arrived, he spoke with a male who remained at the scene.
The male reported that he was waiting to pull out of a parking lot onto Grant Creek Road, but there was a train crossing, causing traffic to back up. The suspect vehicle, identified as a green Ford Ranger, was waiting in line facing southbound. The Ranger then turned around to face northbound and stopped in the roadway.
The male intended to turn onto Grant Creek Road but did not do so because he was unsure what the Ranger was doing. The male looked at the driver, later identified as 34-year-old Manuel Fisher, for approximately ten seconds. Fisher then got out of his pickup with a baseball bat and approached the male’s car. The male stated he did not make any gestures or do anything to provoke Fisher.
When Fisher got to the male’s car, he struck the driver’s-side window at least two times with the baseball bat. Fisher struck the window with enough force to crack it and send small pieces of shattered glass all over the interior of the vehicle. The male stated he believed Fisher would have hit him with the baseball bat had he not driven away. By this time, Fisher was no longer on the scene.
The officer also spoke with two other witnesses who corroborated the male’s version of events. One of the witnesses photographed the Ford Ranger, and its license plate was returned to Fisher. The officer reviewed a booking photo of Fisher and determined that he matched the description of the suspect provided by the witnesses.
Approximately two hours later, law enforcement received another complaint involving Fisher. Callers reported that a suspect male tried to start a fire inside a restaurant located in the 2600 block of Radio Way and was attempting to run over an employee with his truck in the parking lot. Police Public Information Officer Lydia Arnold explains.
“Fisher is charged after throwing a Molotov cocktail at an employee resulting in a fire within the building,” Arnold said. “The accelerant used in the incendiary device created a fire in a crowded restaurant. Multiple employees went to get the fire out that was rapidly growing. Fisher then proceeded to leave the building followed by attempting to run a victim over and hit the victim with a bat before being tackled by an additional employee.”
Arnold explained what happened in the restaurant parking lot.
“A victim went to the parking lot where Fisher was in a vehicle and driving away,” When Fisher noticed the victim in the parking lot, Fisher drove straight at them. The victim described the truck accelerated so fast that it tipped to its side. The victim hid between cars where Fisher exited his vehicle and actively searched for the victim with a baseball bat until Fisher was tackled. Fisher fled again by way of his vehicle. He was located, stopped, and taken into custody.”
According to court documents, officers took Fisher into custody without further incident.
“During a search incident to arrest, a syringe suspected to be used for consuming dangerous drugs was located on his person,” Arnold said. “During the preliminary investigation, officers spoke to multiple victims and located the device used to start the fire inside the building. Evidence was collected and multiple statements were collected.”
An officer went inside the restaurant to investigate the fire. Inside, he observed a small backpack on the carpet floor near the kitchen. The backpack was melted into the carpet and contained a 20-ounce green soda bottle with a cloth rag sticking out of it. The bottle and the carpet smelled strongly of gasoline.
Another employee reported seeing Fisher throw the flaming backpack at one of her coworkers and then flee the scene. The coworker confirmed that Fisher exited the bathroom and threw what appeared to be a ball of blinding light at him. He did not initially realize what the object was. He stated that it hit him in the chest and then fell to the floor. At that point, he realized it was a Molotov cocktail and ran to get a fire extinguisher. Another employee stated that he saw the fire and put it out with a fire extinguisher. After doing so, he immediately noticed the green bottle filled with gasoline.
Fisher is currently being charged with three counts of felony attempted assault with a weapon, felony arson, criminal mischief, and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable.