Missoula law enforcement officials continue their search for an armed robbery suspect, on the loose after two robberies Thursday morning at the Motel 6 and Taco Bell on East Broadway.
Police are urged homeowners and businesses on East Broadway to stay put and lock their doors after the armed robberies were reported around 9:30 a.m.
The suspect held up Taco Bell and the Motel 6 on East Broadway, between Madison and Van Buren Streets. The two businesses are directly across the street from each other.
Not long after, the University of Montana alerted students and started a lockdown. Some elementary and high schools locked their doors, and police told people to get inside and stay there.
The first reported robbery came in around 9:20 a.m. for a suspect who went in to the Motel 6 brandishing a handgun. He demanded cash and took off on foot.
Then just 20 minutes later another report of a robbery at Taco Bell just across the street.
That man also had a handgun and left with money. Police responded to the Taco Bell, where they put up police tape and put the area on high alert.
Residents and businesses in the area took extra precautions. Officers in uniform and plain clothes started walking the streets searching for the suspect and warning folks in the area.
Things are much more calm around the area tonight, and seemingly back to normal.
But without a suspect in custody people in this area are still keeping an eye out. While police have checked out possible leads, the suspect is still on the run.
The suspect is described as a man with brown hair, about 5’5” tall. He is reportedly wearing a dark blue hoodie that may have some kind of covering over it, perhaps a towel. He is wearing blue jeans with dark shoes and white socks. Witnesses say he is armed with a semiautomatic handgun he is carrying in his right hand. Click here to read a press release sent out by Missoula Police.
Officers say they are not sure if they are looking for one or more suspects.
Thursday's search prompted officials to temporarily put the University of Montana into lockdown mode, and eight Missoula County Public Schools campuses into lock-in mode. For more information on how schools were affected, click here.