The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Phillips County Sheriffs Office
For the Courier 

Assault on Phillips County Deputy, Fatal Shooting


On the July 27 at approximately 3:09 a.m., Phillips County Dispatch received a call from a motorist stating he saw a young man walking down the middle of the highway wearing only underwear. When the man refused a ride, the motorist gave him a sweatshirt and continued on his way. The motorist called 911 as soon as service was available.

Deputy Alan Guderjahn was dispatched to the area but initially could not find him. Guderjahn traveled several miles south and then north again. After stopping at a vehicle he identified as that belonging to Ambrose Mecklenburg, Guderjahn continued north on Hwy 191 until he saw a male walking down the highway which he recognized as Mecklenburg.

Deputy Guderjahn stopped and spoke with Mecklenburg offering him a ride to town, but the offer was refused. While speaking with Mecklenburg, he pulled a knife and attacked Guderjahn without warning. Deputy Guderjahn tried to subdue Mecklenburg physically and by using a taser which was ineffective. Deputy Guderjahn was forced to deploy lethal force by discharging his firearm which resulted in the death of Mecklenburg.

After receiving several cuts and stabs to his head, arm, and torso, Deputy Guderjahn attempted to render first aid to himself, but because of the quantity of cuts, their location, and the amount of blood loss, he was unable to until other motorists arrived. When the first deputy arrived on scene, he loaded Guderjahn into his patrol vehicle and met the responding ambulance transferring care to them. 

The scene was secured by Sheriff Moran and Deputies. Due to this being an officer involved shooting the State of Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation was immediately contacted by Phillips County Sheriff Scott Moran. Agents later arrived on scene and took control of the investigation. Mecklenburg was transported to Billings for an autopsy by the Fergus County Coroner who will also conduct the Coroner’s Inquest into the death.

Deputy Guderjahn was transported to the Phillips County Emergency Room then flown to Great Falls for treatment of his wounds. Guderjahn was released on July 28 and returned home. The Division of Criminal Investigation and the Fergus County Coroner’s Office continue to investigate the incident. Evidence has been collected and interviews are being conducted.

Sheriff Moran would like to personally acknowledge and thank Dave Engen of Billings, John Isadorski of Joliet, and especially Brant Harrell of Worden, who stopped and rendered life saving aid to Deputy Guderjahn. Without their quick actions, the outcome could have been very different for Deputy Guderjahn.

Sheriff Moran thanks the citizens of Phillips County, and all the other law enforcement agencies for their prayers, support, and offers of assistance during this difficult time. He also asks that the citizens have patience with the investigation and the release of information. More details of the incident and investigation will be released when the Coroner’s Inquest is completed. Moran asks to please keep Deputy Guderjahn and family, as well as the family of Mecklenburg in your thoughts and prayers.


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