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Prosecutor: Attack on deputy one of worst he's seen

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Neche, ND (WDAZ-TV)

The Pembina County prosecutor is calling it one of the worse attacks on a police officer he has seen.

A Grand Forks man is facing nine charges, including attempted murder, for the alleged brutal attack on a deputy sheriff.  

Highway 18 in Neche. It's where Sara Ramos Letextier's usually quiet ride home from work early Sunday morning turned into what looked like a scene from a movie.

"I just kind of rolled up in the middle of it. I could see the man in the road, he was crumpled,” she recalled.

And a Sheriff's deputy telling her to get to safety.

“He seemed like he was out of breath, he said I've been attacked,” said Ramos Letextier.

“As far as assaults on officers, this is at the top of the list that I've seen,” commented Pembina County State's Attorney Ryan Bialas.

Prosecutors say the incident started just after midnight when Deputy Brad Bowman approached a disabled vehicle. While talking with the two people inside 26 year old Clifford Monteith allegedly got out of the vehicle causing Deputy Bowman to deploy his Taser.

“What is unusual is it did not incapacitate the defendant,” explained Bialas.

That's when Monteith allegedly unleashed a vicious physical attack pinning Deputy Bowman to the road.

“He was punching him on the body and in the face. There are marks on the deputy's body indicating he was choked during the altercation,” Bialas stated.

The attack so brutal, the deputy's bullet proof vest came off putting his life in danger.

“There are charges where the defendant tried multiple times to grab the officer's service weapon,” explained Bialas. 

Deputy Bowman was able to break free. However, the attack didn't stop. Monteith reportedly pulled out a hunting knife and chased the officer into his patrol vehicle.

“In the vehicle there were attempts again to disarm the deputy, that's when the firearm discharged,” explained Bialas.

“I heard the gunshots as well, it was scary,” said Ramos Letextier.

Monteith was shot three times at point blank range.

“My understanding is he (Deputy Bowman) was in full control, there is nothing to indicate this was an accidental discharge,” said Bialas of the evidence.

As investigators work to piece together the events as they unfolded they will not have the luxury of using body cam or dash came video because the Pembina County Sheriff's Department is not equipped with either.

Bowman, a one year veteran of the force, is on paid leave which is standard protocol following an officer involved shooting. He could return to work later this week.

“He seems to be doing well, his injuries seem to be fading away, the scrapes, the bruises, the soreness in his neck, shoulder legs are subsiding,” said Pembina County Sheriff Terry Meidinger. 

Letexier says life is slowly returning to normal in this small border community.

“I’ve heard of things like this before in small towns, they are still the talk of the town 2 or 3 years later, but here it's definitely different happening in this area,” she said.

After the shooting Monteith's girlfriend, the driver of the car, drove him to a home in Manvel where they called an ambulance.

She has not been charged, and prosecutors are still investigating her involvement.

Monteith remains hospitalized under watch.

It's unclear when he will be released.

It turns out Monteith has an extensive criminal history in North Dakota.

On top of numerous traffic and theft charges, Monteith is also currently charged with hitting a man in the head with a hammer after a fight in 2014.