The Flathead County Sheriff's Office said 55 year old Gerald Payne died at Kalispell Regional Medical Center after suffering injuries from an altercation at an apartment in Evergreen Saturday evening.
"At first I didnt know if it was anything but then I noticed the yellow tape. I figured it had to be something serious," said Evergreen resident Vincent Iannelly.
Iannelly tells NBC Montana it's not uncommon to see police activity up and down Highway 35. But when sheriffs deputies showed up at an apartment complex near his home Saturday it sparked some concern.
"Then it was an hour after the sheriffs started dissipating we saw the investigators," continued Iannelly.
"If someone just passed away they wouldn't block it off like that," thought resident Ginny Farrar.
Sheriff Chuck Curry said Payne and 54 year old David Day were involved in an altercation. Payne fell down a flight of stairs and suffered what appeared to be neck and head injuries. He was pronounced dead at KRMC. Day was taken into custody and is currently behind bars.
Neighbors say Payne was a veteran and an all around good guy.
"He's my friend," said Douglas Makes Cold Weather. "He would come over and visit me all the time. And he was a good guy. How could someone die like that."
"Very friendly, very upbeat guy." explained Iannelly. "As far as the other guy goes I dont know him very well but I do know the guy who passed away was a very nice man."
The Flathead County Sheriff's Office is still investigating the incident. Day was arrested and questioned last night.
"He's currently incarcerated in the Flathead County Detention Center," said Sheriff Chuck Curry. "He was initially charged with criminal endangerment until we get the investigation complete, but those charges could change as early as tomorrow."