A Cascade County Sheriff's Deputy has been cleared in the shooting death of a man in Great Falls last March.  Deputy Brandt Olsen was cleared after a three-hour Coroner's Inquest by a 7-0 jury vote.

Deputy Olsen  pulled over 34-year-old Travis Sipes on March 21, 2022.  Sipes was wanted on several theft charges.  Cascade County District Attorney Josh Racki says Sipes then pulled out what looked like a military style weapon.  That's when the deputy fired four rounds, striking Sipes three times.  The gun Sipes had was later determined to  be a BB Gun.

Deputies and officers with the Great Falls Police Department conducted CPR.  Sipes was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.  After the shooting Deputy Olsen was placed on leave, which is normal procedure.

Under Montana law,  a Coroner's inquest must take place to determine if the shooting was justified.  The investigation must also be done by a coroner not from the county the shooting took place in.  Dick Brown of Petroleum County was assigned to the case and presided over the inquest today.

Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter says he actually likes this type of review because it allows anyone on the jury to ask questions as the case goes along.  He says he wished felony jury trials could be conducted the same way.

District Attorney Josh Racki,  who presented the case tells us this one was a pretty open and shut case and the jury agreed voting 7-0 that the deputy was justified in shooting Sipes on the morning on March 21.

Deputy Olsen is an eleven-year veteran of the Cascade County sheriff's office.

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