- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A Montana judge has dismissed a charge of assault on a peace officer that was filed against a military veteran after his defense attorney argued Kalispell officers did not give him enough time to react to an order to drop his weapon before shooting him.

Police were called to Ryan Pengelly’s house on Jan. 13 to a report of a suicidal and homicidal woman. Officers were trying to take his mother into custody when she yelled. Pengelly has said he was asleep when he heard the commotion and grabbed a rifle.

Officers ordered him to drop the weapon and when he didn’t they fired at least four shots, badly injuring Pengelly. The wounds required several operations and Pengelly faces another one to remove shrapnel from his back.

Attorney Peter Leander argued that Pengelly, 30, suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq in 2008 that slowed his visual and mental reaction time. He also argued that from Pengelly’s perspective in the home it would have been hard for anyone to quickly confirm that the two men in the living room were police officers.

District Judge Amy Eddy agreed to dismiss the charges on Tuesday, but in a way that made it possible for them to be re-filed.

“This case needs to end with a period, not a question mark,” Leander said Wednesday.

Judge Eddy then dismissed the charge without prejudice, meaning it can’t be re-filed.

After the hearing, Pengelly said he had no ill will toward law enforcement. He said he and his family plan on leaving the Flathead Valley in the coming months.

“I’m glad it’s all done and that I can move on with my life now,” he said.

The Flathead County sheriff’s office investigated the shooting and cleared the officers of any wrongdoing.


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