MISSOULA, Mont. — Ravalli County officials have identified a murder suspect who killed himself as police approached his vehicle in Missoula last week.

Sheriff Steve Holton says 32-year-old Christopher Ray Phillips shot himself in the head during a traffic stop early on July 26. Phillips was being sought in the shooting death of 45-year-old Cassandra Dean Morrison of Butte. Her body was found on the side of the road in Jefferson City — between Butte and Helena — on July 23.

An autopsy found Morrison died of gunshot wounds.

Ravalli County officers investigated Phillips’ death because it occurred during a traffic stop. That investigation found that a police officer was giving verbal commands to the occupants of the vehicle when Phillips shot himself in the head. Two other people in the vehicle were taken into custody.

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