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Coroner’s inquest clears Sheriff’s Deputy in April shooting

PHILIPSBURG – A coroner’s inquest December 28, 2020 has determined that a Granite County Sheriff’s deputy was not criminally liable in a shooting April 16th in front of Sunshine Station.

The inquest, which was presided over by the Anaconda Deer Lodge County Coroner, determined that Granite County Sheriff Deputy Thaddeus Smith acted appropriately during a fatal shooting in front of Sunshine Station on Montana Highway 1.

According to police reports, the incident began at approximately 7 p.m. when multiple 911 calls reported a disturbance at the local business. Smith and Fish and Game Warden Terry Althaus responded to find the suspect, Salvatore Friscia Jr., using his vehicle to ram other vehicles and endanger pedestrians. Smith and Althaus were unable to stop Salvatore and his continued actions resulted in other bystander vehicles being damaged, including the sheriff’s vehicle.

Because the two officers were unable to stop Salvatore’s dangerous actions, Smith discharged his duty weapon and killed the suspect.

The Coroner’s Inquest was requested by Granite County Sheriff Scott Dunkerson.

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