By Molly Priddy, 2-11-13
||Caption: Christopher Cassidy, left, in Flathead County Justice Court with his attorney, Peter Leander, during his initial appearance on Feb. 11 in Kalispell. - Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
The Somers man arrested after firing dozens of rounds from various weapons during a five-hour standoff with law enforcement was denied his request to be released from jail without bail.
Christopher Cassidy, 41, appeared before Judge Daniel Wilson on Feb. 11 and was formally charged with criminal endangerment and criminal manufacturing of dangerous drugs.
Cassidy’s attorney, Peter Leander, asked Wilson to release Cassidy on his own recognizance, calling the Feb. 9 standoff an “aberration” of Cassidy’s behavior.
“It’s not in his nature, it’s not in his habit, it’s not in his history,” Leander said.
Flathead County sheriff’s deputies arrived at Cassidy’s home shortly after midnight on Feb. 9 after receiving reports of gunshots. They observed Cassidy firing rounds from outside his front door, which is in a residential neighborhood, according to Sheriff Chuck Curry.
Deputies watched Cassidy fire 80 to 100 rounds, Curry said, and set up a perimeter. SWAT attempted negotiations with Cassidy but failed, Curry said, and tear gas was fired into the residence.
Cassidy was arrested when he walked out the door at about 6 a.m.
A search warrant executed on the house turned up 86 marijuana plants, Curry reported. He also said there is no evidence yet that any neighboring homes or residents were struck by the gunfire.
During the Feb. 11 hearing, Leander said Cassidy is not a threat to the community. He said his investigator believes all the rounds were fired into the ground, and that Cassidy either fell asleep or passed out and therefore missed any negotiation attempts with SWAT.
Leander said Cassidy woke up when the tear gas came into the house.
Eight people, various family and friends, were also present to account for Cassidy, who is a firefighter in Somers and also owns a business there.
Wilson disagreed with Leander, and said it is the “aberrational nature” of the charge that concerns him, and that setting bail at $50,000 reflects his concern for the community’s and Cassidy’s own safety.
If released on bail, Cassidy is not allowed to consume alcohol or possess firearms, Wilson said.
Cassidy’s arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 28.
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