CORVALLIS – Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman has released the name of the Missoula man killed Monday morning during an apparent burglary at a private residence between Corvallis and Victor.
Tobias Ian Bishop, 39, was shot by the homeowner about 4 a.m. after entering the residence through a window that he had broken.
Bishop had a long criminal history and was wanted on a warrant in Flathead County, Hoffman said. Bishop had apparently burglarized at least one other home in the vicinity prior to being shot, and had already gathered several chainsaws and other items near his van.
According to Hoffman, evidence gathered so far has revealed that Bishop drove several miles up a private road in a borrowed van, parked the van between two homes and began moving items from the residences to the van.
On Tuesday, Hoffman said the evidence shows that Bishop had been in the area for at least an hour prior to attempting to enter the occupied home where he was shot.
The homeowner told investigators that he initially thought snow was falling from his roof and hitting the ground, but got up to investigate when the noise continued.
After Bishop broke a window and entered the house, the homeowner encountered the intruder inside. The homeowner ordered Bishop not to move, but he allegedly turned toward the homeowner.
Based on the intruder’s actions, the homeowner feared for his life and shot Bishop with a handgun, the sheriff said. After being shot, Bishop fled through the same broken window and ran a short distance into the yard, where he collapsed and died.
Deputies found Bishop and summoned paramedics, but he could not be revived and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hoffman said that records from Arizona, Idaho and Montana reveal that Bishop had a long history of illegal activity, including burglary, assault and drug-related arrests. He was wanted on arrest warrants in Arizona and Flathead County for theft and forgery, and had prior law enforcement alerts for violent tendencies and drug abuse.
Hoffman also said the homeowner has no criminal history, and at this point in the investigation he is classified as a victim.
Montana’s so-called “castle doctrine” law, approved in 2009 as House Bill 228, allows a person who is threatened with bodily injury or loss of life to use deadly force without the requirements that they first summon help or flee. Part 1 of Chapter 3 of Title 45 in the Montana Code Annotated describes when legal use of deadly force is justified.
Hoffman said that in this case he wants to clarify that the crime of burglary is not predicated on items being stolen, but is the act of entering an occupied structure – the home – with the intent of committing any other crime.
No charges have been filed against the homeowner, and the man’s name has not been released.
Hoffman said that the investigation is ongoing, and that more information will be released as it becomes available.