William Newhoff claims he intended to carry out "suicide by cop" - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

East Missoula manhunt

William Newhoff claims he intended to carry out "suicide by cop"

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The subject of an hours-long manhunt in East Missoula on Tuesday has been formally charged with several felonies in connection with his activities in the last few weeks.

Court documents indicate that William "Billy" Dale Newhoff, 35, is accused of several crimes leading up to the manhunt, including the theft of two trucks and a plow from Ibey Nursery in Missoula on Jan. 5. Charging documents say that a landlord in Billings came forward with a tablet left behind by an evicted tenant that indicated that Newhoff was involved in the crime. He was already wanted by U.S. Marshals in Billings related to a probation violation.

On Jan. 30, deputies tracked one of the stolen vehicles, a 1994 white Chevy, parked at the Aspen Motel in East Missoula. The license plate had been covered with mud, but after a detective cleaned off the plate, he confirmed it was the stolen vehicle.

As the deputy went back to his patrol car to call for backup, he saw Newhoff run out of the hotel room, jump in the truck and speed away. Deputies chased Newhoff to East Missoula, where Newhoff allegedly almost hit a pedestrian in the River of Life parking lot while fleeing in the stolen truck. The truck also careened into a fence and a house and crashed into a tree, before Newhoff escaped on foot. Deputies called in backup, including a Special Response Team and a helicopter from Kalispell, to assist with the search.

While searching homes, officers entered a trailer on Speedway Loop, accompanied by the homeowner, and found Newhoff "standing behind the door of a room holding a pistol in his right hand."

Officers say Newhoff initially resisted requests to drop his weapon, but eventually capitulated. Newhoff stated "just shoot me." Officers ultimately arrested him without incident. 

Documents say that Newhoff told police he didn't know the Chevrolet was stolen, but had traded some tools for it. He claimed he'd been in the hotel room with his girlfriend and they were planning to die together in a shoot-out with law enforcement, but his girlfriend got scared and bailed on the plans when he got in the truck.

When officers asked Newhoff why he'd put lives in danger and damaged property, he "responded that he was facing life in prison and figured it was better to die." He stated he meant to do "suicide by cop" but wasn't brave enough to do it.

His charges include felony theft, criminal endangerment and criminal mischief. He's booked in Missoula County Jail.

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