Search for assault suspect prompts tightened security at nearby Big Sky High


MISSOULA, Mont. - An attempt to locate a man suspected of assault out of Ravalli County prompted Missoula authorities to issue a warning to Big Sky High School, CS Porter Middle School and Hawthorne Elementary School as a precaution.

School administrators say that at no point were students and staff considered to be in direct danger.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman says a Ravalli deputy had been returning from Missoula County after a prison transport when he saw the suspect, 36-year-old Timothy Triplett, driving near Lolo. Hoffman says the deputy turned on his lights, though Triplett didn't pull over. However, Hoffman tells NBC Montana that the deputy did not engage in a pursuit, but rather an "attempt to locate" was broadcasted.

Missoula Sheriff Carl Ibsen tells NBC Montana that deputies found the suspect's unoccupied car near the Target Range/Big Sky High School area. Ibsen says several schools were notified about the incident, and Triplett was later located and apprehended without incident near the vehicle.

Ibsen says Triplett is booked in the Missoula County Detention Center under a charge of eluding officers, along with a Ravalli County warrant and multiple traffic violations.

A Big Sky teacher tells NBC Montana teachers were asked to keep doors to classrooms locked, and staff were kept posted at all the doors at the school.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman tells NBC Montana that Triplett had allegedly been involved in an altercation in Victor, and that he was also wanted for criminal trespass, criminal mischief and tampering with a communications device.

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