Just before 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, a Missoula police officer was dispatched to Winds of Change for a gun attack. The caller said the suspect, 58-year-old Neil Mahle, charged an employee with a knife. Dispatch said Neil left the crime scene on his bike and drove to Zip Trip’s gas station. Neil’s wife Lu was with him and the caller was concerned for her safety. Lydia Arnold, police officer for public relations, explains.
“Neil Mahle is being held at the Missoula County Detention Center for assault with a gun,” Arnold said. âOfficials responded to Winds of Change at 1120 Cedar Street after staff asked Neil to leave. Neil had been to Winds of Change and was messy. The staff had advised Neil to leave for the day and Neil’s behavior escalated. “
Officials spoke to the victim at Winds of Change. He sat down and was noticeably excited. His voice was broken and trembling when he started talking about what had happened.
“The staff escorted Neil out of the building because they were concerned for the safety of those around Neil,” said Arnold. âNeil took out a knife and threatened an employee with it. Neil was found by officers a short time later. He was taken into custody and a knife was found on him. No person was injured in the incident. “
On the way out of the building, Neil pushed another patient out of the way. The victim followed Neil outside to make sure he was leaving. Neil continues to be “super aggressive” and called the victim “Mother F **** r”. Neil also hit his bike, picked it up, and threw it at Lu and the victim.
At one point the victim became concerned about Lu’s safety and stepped in front of her while holding out his arm to keep Neil away. Then Neil took out a knife and walked over to the victim. The victim said he thought Neil was going to kill him. Feeling like he had to defend himself, the victim began to pursue Neil, but Neil went on his way.
Another employee said she let people into the store and locked the doors behind them twice during the incident. The staff member said she was also concerned about Lu’s safety, who left with Neil after the incident. The staff member said Neil acted aggressively earlier in the day and she knew he was using meth.
An officer quickly located Neil outside the Zip Trip supermarket and Neil was taken into custody without incident. Neil is currently on charges of assault with a gun.