This Peace Officer gave his life
 defending and protecting the citizens of Missoula.

 

The Crime

Missoula, Montana, December 6, 1984

Early on this cold December morning, Fred Daniel Van Dyken, drove a black 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, to the Super America filling station on Brooks Street. The Monte Carlo had been stolen in Great Falls Montana a few days prior1. He filled the car’s gas tank, and drove off without paying for $11 worth of gasoline.

The filling station attendant called 911 and reported the theft to the police department, he gave them a description of the vehicle including it’s license number.

Sheriff’s Sergeant Allen Kimery heard the city police broadcast a description of the vehicle who’s driver had stolen gasoline. Sergeant Kimery spotted the car on West Broadway. He notified the  dispatcher that he would be stopping it and requested that a city police officer respond since the incident had occurred within the city. When Sgt. Kimery initiated the traffic stop the Monte Carlo turned off of West Broadway, North on to Burton Street, about one block and stopped.

Due to a delay in response of the CJIN2 computer system, Sgt. Kimery was unaware that the Chevrolet Monte Carlo was stolen. Kimery radioed the location at which the vehicle had stopped before he exited his patrol car, the time was 2:55 AM.

Fred Daniel Van Dyken was sitting in the car, with a Charter Arms .357 Magnum handgun that he had stolen in a burglary a few days prior. As he waited for the officer to approach, he rolled the drivers side window down. When Sergeant Kimery neared the drivers door, Van Dyken reached out the now open window with the handgun in his right hand, and fired a shot at the deputy.

Sergeant Kimery at a distance of about 3 feet, was struck in the chest, the bullet piercing his heart.

As Van Dyken sped from the scene, Sgt. Kimery, drew his service revolver and fired six times at the at the fleeing vehicle. Kimery was able to make his way to the drivers door of his patrol car before he collapsed onto the street. Three of the bullets fired by Sgt. Kimery, hit the Monte Carlo. Van Dyken received only superficial injury from a bullet or bullet fragment which caused a slight laceration on the very top of his right shoulder, a small puncture wound on his back caused by a fragment of one of Sgt. Kimery's bullets and a couple of small pieces of glass from the rear window imbedded in the skin behind his neck.

At 2:56 AM about one minute after Kimery checked out on the stop, a resident near the scene called 911 stating that she had heard gunshots and that an officer was lying in the street near his patrol car.

911 dispatchers immediately broadcast the report of shots having been fired and an officer down at Sgt. Kimery’s location. 

City police officers arrived at the scene forty seconds after the broadcast of an officer down, they found Sgt. Kimery unconscious on the street beside his patrol car. With help from a citizen who came out of her home,  Sgt. Kimery was  placed in the back seat of a patrol car. He was rushed to St. Patrick Hospital six blocks away where he died a short time later.

The response from CJIN notifying dispatchers that the car Sgt. Kimery had stopped was stolen came at 2:59 AM.

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Officers began a city-wide search for the 1979 black Monte Carlo. Off duty police officers and sheriff's deputies were called out to assist in the search. 

The vehicle was discovered  in an alley in Missoula’s lower rattlesnake area, riddled with bullet holes and abandoned.

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At approximately 4:00 AM, Van Dyken called his friends Jeff and Tim Braida, and asked if they would give him a ride. He said that he was at a convenience store and that there was a problem with his car. On their way to pick up Van Dyken, the Braidas stopped at the Super America station on Brooks Street for gas (the same service station where Van Dyken had stolen the gasoline).

While Jeff was putting gas in the tank, Tim went to pay for it. Talking to the gas station attendant, Tim learned of the gas theft and shooting. When he found out that the car involved had Great Falls license plates3, Tim decided that he and Jeff would not pick up Van Dyken4. Tim told the SuperAmerica attendant Van Dyken’s name and where the Braidas were to meet him. The attendant relayed this information to the police.

Van Dyken was located at the convenience store indicated by Tim Braida in the 500 block of East Broadway at about 4:20 AM. He was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon (the Charter Arms .357 revolver5). Van Dyken was searched and a set of car keys was recovered. The keys fit the bullet riddled black Chevrolet Monte Carlo.  

At the time of his arrest, Van Dyken identified himself as Joshua Garrity, later when he was first charged with deliberate homicide before Justice of the Peace Janet Stevens, he requested that he be called Fred Van Dyke then few days later his defense attorney requested that he be addressed as Fred Daniel Van Dyken.

 

Notes:

(1) The Chevrolet Monte Carlo had been stolen on Nov. 30th from Van Dyken's ex-mother in law.

(2) CJIN - Criminal Justice Information Network  - Montana's law enforcement computer communications & database system.

(3) Montana vehicle license plates each have a prefix indicating the county in which the vehicle is registered. Cascade County (Great Falls) uses the prefix 2.

(4) The fact that Van Dyken had told the Braidas several hours before that if he was stopped by a cop, that he would shoot him, and the information that the car involved had great falls license plates led Braida to believe that Van Dyken was involved.

(5) The Charter Arms revolver had one spent round in its cylinder when Van Dyken was arrested.

 

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