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Law

A woman accused of pointing a gun at a hospital worker last month and then locking herself in an office at St. James Healthcare pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Thursday.

Mollie Rae Summers, 50, was initially charged with felony assault with a weapon but pleaded guilty to criminal endangerment instead in a plea agreement with prosecutors.

District Judge Kurt Krueger accepted the plea and set sentencing for Jan. 24. She is free on her own recognizance and has been undergoing mental health treatment, her public defender said.

The felony conviction carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. The earlier assault charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, but neither crime requires a minimum sentence.

Prosecutors say Summers was inside an office in the ultrasound lab at St. James around 5 p.m. on Feb. 1 last year when an employee walked in. Summers pointed a pistol at the employee from 6 feet away and told her to get out.

The worker left, slammed the office door behind her, and hit the ground so she presented a smaller target. She crawled to another area and called for help.

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Jay Doyle, the hospital’s chief executive officer, was talking to Summers through the door when police arrived. The standoff ended peacefully when police were able to get the gun from her.

Sections of St. James were put on lockdown during the incident.

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Government and politics reporter

Mike Smith is a reporter at the Montana Standard with an emphasis on government and politics.

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