Man Caught Shoplifting Threatens to Shoot Missoula Police Officer
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - At approximately 9:36 p.m. on June 27, 2023, a Missoula Police Department officer approached the intersection of England Blvd. behind Lowe’s and observed a male, later identified as 33-year-old Anthony First. The officer noticed First was carrying what appeared to be boxes of tools under his arm.
The officer looked to his left and observed a Lowe’s employee. The employee was frantically pointing at First. The officer rolled down his vehicle window and asked the employee if First had stolen the items he was carrying, and the employee said yes.
The officer pulled up towards First. First dropped the items he had been carrying and started jogging away. The officer activated his patrol vehicle lights and started proceeding towards First who ran through a back parking lot. The officer exited his patrol vehicle and followed him on foot. The officer commanded First to get on the ground and stop, but First did not comply. First then took an aggressive fighting posture.
The officer drew his Taser, pointed it at First, and again commanded him to get on the ground. First said "no" and then proceeded into the parking lot on the south side of the Great Northern Apartment complex. The officer followed First into the parking lot and utilized a parked vehicle for cover.
First had stopped approximately forty-nine feet away. The officer noticed First was now digging in the waistband of his pants. According to court documents, First said, "Don't make me pull it I don't want to shoot". At this time, the officer transitioned from Taser to his department-issued pistol. The officer was extremely fearful First was going to produce a firearm and potentially kill him.
First continued to walk west in the parking lot towards Great Northern Ave. The officer continued to give commands and First refused to stop. First continued to tell the officer to get back and that he didn't want to shoot the officer, and that he was not going to go to jail. While he was doing this he continued to dig around with his right hand inside his clothing.
First eventually entered the Costco parking lot. The officer observed Costco appeared closed and the customer parking lot was empty. The officer maintained his distance while waiting for other units to arrive.
The officer then observed employees on the north side of the building getting in their vehicles. The officer became immediately concerned First may try to reach them and potentially take a hostage. The officer ran to try to contain First away from the employees. By this time, two other officers had arrived on the scene. The officer noticed First exhibited the same behavior toward them as he had been doing toward himself. The officer was immediately concerned First was going to produce a weapon and try to kill the other officers.
One of the other officers deployed his Taser and it was not effective. First started running, but the other officers were able to take him into custody. First was searched incident to arrest and an officer located a "tooter straw" in his pocket.
First was transported to the Missoula County Detention Center. He is currently being charged with felony robbery, obstructing a peace officer, and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable.