35 year-old Aaron Thiel of Ronan was struck by a vehicle late Friday night after standing in the middle of the road and allegedly waving a rifle at a person in traffic.

Lake County Sheriff Don Bell said the incident occurred just after 9:30 p.m. on Friday.

“Officers responding to Timberlane Road about a mile and half up from Highway 93 in the Ronan area,” said Bell. “There was a report of a shirtless man who was acting erratically and waving around a rifle on the roadway in traffic. Prior to the arrival of law enforcement, another caller reported that the person had struck the male with the vehicle and the male had pointed his rifle at them prior to him being struck.”

Bell described what officers found when they arrived at the scene.

“Responding officers found the male unresponsive but alive,” he said. “He was transported to a local emergency room via ambulance. It was discovered that the rife turned out to be a realistic looking toy air soft rifle and was not a real firearm.”

Bell said 35 year-old Aaron Thiel was airlifted to a Missoula hospital where he died on Saturday. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Montana Highway Patrol are investigating, and the deceased has been transported to the Montana State Crime Lab in Missoula for an autopsy.”

Bell said no arrests have been made in Thiel’s death, but the incident is still under investigation.

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