An employee of the Chippewa Cree Tribe housing program and member of the Rocky Boy school board is facing a felony assault charge after he was accused of putting a man into the hospital.
Theodore B. Russette III, coordinator for Rocky Boy’s Housing Improvement Program/Maintenance, is accused of hitting Russell Standing Rock, also a school board member, causing him to break his leg when he landed on it while falling.
Russette was charged Aug. 29 with felony aggravated assault or, in the alternative, felony criminal endangerment.
Russette, born in 1956, is scheduled for arraignment on Sept. 19.
The Rocky Boy schools superintendent was in Helena at meetings today and could not be contacted to find out Russette’s status as a school board member.
Russette was arrested Friday by Hill County Sheriff’s deputies after Standing Rock called law enforcement at 9:43 a. m. to say Russette, who had a felony warrant out for his arrest, was coming into town.
According to the charging document, Havre police were called to a local tire and car repair shop with a report of a man falling down and injuring himself.
En route, the officer received an updated report that the man had been attacked and was being transported to the local hospital.
At the hospital, the document said, the officer could see that Standing Rock’s leg had been broken, and he had a bruise and swelling on his jaw near his mouth.
Standing Rock told the officers that he had been in Russette’s office earlier that morning to talk about applying for help paying for building renovations, and the two men had a disagreement. Russette told him to leave, Standing Rock said.
According to the document, Standing Rock said he then went into Havre for an appointment to have his van worked on, and saw Russette there.
He reported that when he got out of the van after driving it with an employee of the business to check on problems, he saw Russette walking toward him.
Standing Rock said Russette didn’t say anything to him, and he began to walk toward some shade to get out of the sun. Then, as he reached Standing Rock, Russette “sucker punched” him, Standing Rock said, causing him to fall and injure his leg as he did so.
The manager of the shop called the officers back to view a surveillance video made at the time.
According to the charging document, the video showed Standing Rock getting out of his vehicle and it pulling into the shop as he reported, then a man, identified as Russette, walking up to Standing Rock, immediately striking him.