A 30-year-old Butte man faces charges that include felony arson, felony assault with a weapon, and misdemeanor resisting arrest after an altercation of about 40 minutes with Butte-Silver Bow police on Sunday afternoon that Sheriff Ed Lester said had presented officers with “a dangerous situation.”

Around 2:50 p.m., dispatchers received a call from a man who said he was armed with a knife. The man was making threatening statements, police said.

When officers arrived at the residence on the 700 block of West Park Street, they discovered Zachary L. Rider armed with two knives and attempting to lure them to engage with him in the apartment, where he was the only occupant at the time, according to the police report.

Police said they discovered also that Rider had started a fire in the rear stairway of the basement apartment. Officers used snow to drown the fire, but the Butte-Silver Bow Fire Department also responded to ensure the blaze was extinguished.

Police said Rider remained armed with the knives, threatening them as they attempted to talk him into surrendering peacefully.

When Rider briefly stepped outside the apartment, an officer fired a Taser at him and, after Rider fell and a brief struggle, officers subdued him, police said.

Sheriff Ed Lester said Monday that six officers had responded to the man’s residence. The officers escaped injury. He praised their work.

“The officers at the scene did an excellent job of containing and controlling a dangerous situation,” Lester said. “They were able to resolve the situation safely, even though that is clearly not the ending the suspect had in mind.”

Lester said it is unclear what motivated Rider’s actions but acknowledged it might have been an attempted “suicide by cop.”

He said Rider will receive a mental health evaluation.


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