Family dispute leads to felony assault with a weapon charge

2014-01-01T19:00:00Z Family dispute leads to felony assault with a weapon charge Ravalli Republic

An argument fueled by alcohol at the Stanker home in Hamilton allegedly led to gunplay and eventually an arrest of Garry R. Stanker, 64, of Custer, S.D.

Stanker appeared in Ravalli County Justice Court on a felony assault with a weapon charge and misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest, obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct.

Court records said Stanker and his cousin, James Stanker, were arguing at James’ home at 204 Geneva Ave. at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

James Stanker told officers later the men had been quarreling over some fiddles his recently deceased father had owned.

Apparently during the argument, James Stanker grabbed his single-action .22-caliber pistol and started twirling it in his left hand when his cousin told him that “my gun has nine more rounds.”

James Stanker told officers that when he stopped twirling the pistol, his thumb accidently hit the hammer and the gun discharged into the floor.

Sometime after that, Garry Stanker walked out of the house and retrieved his own “longer barreled gun” from his vehicle. He then allegedly pointed the gun upward and chambered a round.

James Stanker said his cousin kept the gun in his right hand and pointed his left index finger at him in a menacing manner. James called 911.

When the deputies arrived, Garry Stanker was standing in the middle of the road and refused to comply with the officers’ commands. He was taken to the ground and handcuffed.

When officers began to ask questions, Garry Stanker started asking them what was going on. At one point, one handcuff was unlocked, which resulted in vulgarities and resistance from the man.

He was again taken to the ground and re-handcuffed.

Garry Stanker denied pointing the pistol in the air or pointing his finger as his cousin.

Court records said “it should be noted” that both men “appeared highly intoxicated.”

Pistols were found in both men’s vehicles.

Acting Justice of the Peace Jennifer Ray set bail at $15,000.

Reach reporter Perry Backus at 363-3300 or

Reporter Perry Backus can be reached at

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(1) Comments

  1. Bitterroot Billy
    Report Abuse
    Bitterroot Billy - January 02, 2014 11:47 am
    Getting drunk and playing with firearms. Always a winner!
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