Public defenders Eric Olson, left, and Christina Larsen accompany their young client at a hearing Tuesday afternoon in the court of District Judge Stewart Stadler. The 11-year-old boy is in custody following the shooting death of his father on Monday night
KALISPELL - A Kalispell man is dead and his 11-year-old son in jail after a Monday evening shooting at the family's trailer house.
“It's a pretty sad deal,” said Detective Sgt. Tim Falkner, of the Kalispell Police Department. “It's tragic, really.”
According to Falkner, police received an emergency call at about 6 p.m., reporting an accidental shooting at the home of 47-year-old Patrick Gretsch.
They found Gretsch dead at the scene, with a single shotgun blast to the chest. Officers spent “the entire night investigating the shooting,” determining finally that the incident was not an accident, as initially reported.
Falkner now believes a domestic disturbance was escalating in the house between Gretsch and another family member. Alcohol appears to have been involved, he said, “but to what degree that affected events, we'll probably never know.”
At home were five family members, he said - Gretsch, his wife and their three children.
“The family all knew about the guns,” Falkner said. “They all knew there were guns in the house, and they knew where they were kept.”
At some point during the domestic dispute, the 11-year-old allegedly fired two rounds from a 20-gauge shotgun. One blasted into the trailer's ceiling; the other hit Gretsch in the chest.
Gretsch, whose body has been taken to the state crime lab for analysis, had no prior encounters with Kalispell police, Falkner said, although he believed Flathead County sheriff's deputies had once responded to the address on a domestic disturbance complaint.
The boy, likewise, had no history of run-ins with police. His name is being withheld due to his age.
According to Falkner, the family had moved to Kalispell from Michigan, “and really haven't lived here that long. Maybe a couple years is all.”
The 11-year-old, who has been charged with mitigated deliberate homicide, remains in Flathead County's juvenile detention center.