Man banned from having guns following Capitol riot arrest shoots mountain lion

Patrick Montgomery recently shot and killed a 170lb mountain lion, say investigators

Katie Shepherd
Monday 17 May 2021 18:19 BST
Hundreds of people have been investigated over the riot at the US Capitol building in January (File photo)
Hundreds of people have been investigated over the riot at the US Capitol building in January (File photo) (Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

After his arrest for allegedly storming the US Capitol building and kicking a police officer on 6 January, Patrick Montgomery was released from custody and allowed to return to Colorado – with a few stipulations, including that he not possess any firearms.

So federal prosecutors said they were disturbed to learn that Mr Montgomery recently shot and killed a 170lb mountain lion and then proudly posed for photos with the corpse. Colorado officials say he also broke state laws because he was banned from owning firearms due to an old felony robbery conviction.

Now, federal prosecutors have filed a motion to revoke his release and asked a judge to place the 48-year-old on house arrest with a GPS monitor. He could also face new state charges.

“Given that Mr Montgomery has repeatedly and flagrantly violated both state and federal law while on pre-trial release in this case – including by possessing and using a firearm – the government respectfully requests that the court revoke his release pending trial,” prosecutors said in the motion.

Mr Montgomery is one of the hundreds of people charged in the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol. Federal investigators have been building cases against alleged rioters using social media posts, tips from family members, and even online dating profiles.

Tipsters identified Mr Montgomery in photos posted to Facebook that allegedly showed him inside the Capitol building on 6 January. One tipster sent Mr Montgomery a message letting him know that he had been reported to the FBI.

“I’m not a scared cat or running from anything,” Mr Montgomery wrote back, according to a criminal complaint. “I didn’t storm the castle violently. My group was let in peacefully by the police we were talking to with respect.”

In fact, prosecutors said, the resident of Littleton, Colorado, tried to grab a police officer’s baton, wrestled him to the ground and kicked him in the chest. Then he “held up his two middle fingers” at the officer, according to court records.

He was arrested in Colorado on 17 January, according to court records, and charged with 10 criminal counts, including assaulting a police officer.

Not long after he was federally charged, the professional hunter and guide also became the subject of an investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials who said he illegally harvested a bobcat in late January.

According to a motion to revoke Mr Montgomery’s pre-trial release, the hunter pursued the bobcat on 25 January for more than 11 miles with his dogs, violating local laws. Then, he knocked the cat out of a tree with a slingshot and allowed his dogs to maul it. In Colorado, it is illegal to use a slingshot or dogs to kill a “furbearer”, which is any animal hunted for its coat, including bobcats. A Colorado wildlife officer cited Mr Montgomery for illegally harvesting the cat.

Then on 31 March – nearly two months after he was released on bond – Mr Montgomery pursued a 170lb mountain lion with his four hunting dogs. The dogs chased the big cat into a tree, where Mr Montgomery fired two bullets from a .357 pistol, according to federal court records. After the mountain lion died, the hunter posed for a photo with his arms wrapped around the dead animal.

Mr Montgomery followed Colorado rules that allow hunters to harvest mountain lions, including getting the right permits and reporting the kill for officials to inspect. But federal prosecutors and Colorado wildlife officers now say Mr Montgomery should never have had the gun he used to hunt the big cat.

In addition to the federal ban on keeping weapons while on pre-trial release, Mr Montgomery had also been previously convicted of three counts of robbery in New Mexico in 1996. He told a Colorado wildlife officer that the crimes occurred when he was in college “doing stupid stuff” and “knocking stores over to get travel money”, according to court records.

He pleaded guilty to a felony robbery charge and was sentenced to 6 years in prison. He told a wildlife officer that part of his plea deal allowed him to own and use firearms for hunting, but when Colorado officials pulled the court records, they could find no provision in Mr Montgomery’s plea deal that allowed him to continue possessing guns.

Colorado officials also noted in a court filing that Mr Montgomery was a prolific hunter, who claimed to have trapped 100 mountain lions in the last five years, including 20 in the most recent hunting season alone.

Mr Montgomery told an officer in April that he “did not understand why this was popping up now”, after years of hunting in Colorado without incident. The officer said the state agency that oversees hunting had only recently learned of his New Mexico conviction.

He has a court appearance on Monday to finalise more strict bond conditions and house arrest, but a date has not yet been set for his federal trial, according to court records.

Mr Montgomery could also face state charges for illegal hunting practices and possessing a firearm as a felon.

SWNS

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