Family Left In The Dark

Family says law enforcement quiet as investigation into the death of Victor Three Irons continues

Family Left In The Dark
Victor Three Irons would regularly help out his family. Here, he helps wrangle a calf at his maternal family’s ranch during one of their big family events. / Photo by Tom Robinson

Victor Three Irons would give you the shirt off his back, according to his former wife.

“He literally took off his shirt and gave it to someone once, which was kind of frustrating at the time because I bought it for him,” she added.

Wallace Three Irons was grade school when Victor took him into his home.

“When I was in fourth grade, Victor took me in because my parents couldn’t take care of me,” Wallace Three Irons said. “I stayed with him until sixth grade, and during that time he showed me some car mechanics and how to rollerblade.”

Family and friends are holding tight to their precious memories, because Victor was murdered on Jan. 18 in the Dunmore area outside of Crow Agency.

Passes described Victor as an avid outdoorsman, and would go on trails while in Missoula, or ride his bike around the city, frequently making his friends go along with him.

“People were always on their toes around Victor, at any time he could just jump up and announce that he was going to do something,” Passes said.

Despite being divorced, Passes was still close with Victor and his family, helping to fill in his obituary. Victor kept in contact with his daughters, seeing them when he could and calling regularly.

At the funeral, Bob Struckman, a long time friend and brother-in-law to Victor, remembered stories and experiences he shared with Victor, like the time they left Billings on a hunting trip that went awry when Victor got their car flipped over in a coulee.

Struckman also described Victor, saying “Vicious.”

“That's a nickname that sometimes people had for Victor. I gotta tell you, he was never vicious. Welcoming. Generous. Sweet. Respectful. Loving. Kind. Hard working. Smart. Prayerful. Angry. Enthusiastic. Hilarious. Defensive. These are better words to describe Victor,” Struckman said.

Victor Three Irons enjoyed hiking the trails in and around Missoula when he lived there. Victor stands high on one of the mountains that overlook the University of Montana Campus. / Photo by Tessa Passes
Victor Three Irons enjoyed hiking the trails in and around Missoula when he lived there. Victor stands high on one of the mountains that overlook the University of Montana Campus. / Photo by Tessa Passes

He finished his eulogy by reassuring friends and family.

“Over the last few days I’ve heard people saying what if. What if I let him stay with me? What if this? What if that? I just want you to know that Victor didn’t die because any of us failed him,”

Struckman followed this with a reminder, that despite Victor being gone, “We remain, and we remember. And we loved Victor.”

The case is currently being investigated. The Bureau of Indian Affairs police in Crow Agency and other investigating organizations declined to comment on any information relating to the case.

While the case is being actively investigated no official timeline has been established, but according to witnesses, Victor was shot four times in the back by a known assailant.

Victor and the man encountered each other outside of a home located in Crow Agency, where they got into an argument that eventually came to blows.

Footage, widely shared on social media, shows Victor eventually knocking out the alleged assailant.

According to witnesses after an unknown amount of time, the alleged assailant woke up and reportedly said, “I’m going to kill him.”

Victor had received a ride back to Dunmore, and at some point traveled to a third party’s home, where the alleged assailant seemed to be waiting for him. Witnesses in the area said they heard gunfire.

An individual who took Victor to the emergency room in Crow Agency said they found him on the interstate between Dunmore and Crow Agency. Victor was declared dead at 3:15 p.m. on Jan. 18

The family of Victor has expressed frustration with investigators, stating that they feel like they’re being left in the dark.

“It’s all very hush-hush, and it makes it feel like it never happened,” said Valerie Packs the Hat, Victor’s aunt.

Another point of frustration comes from the alleged shooter. According to members of Victor’s family, he was incarcerated, but on a work release program, despite his history of violence. Many of them are curious why he wasn’t behind bars.

As the investigation continues, the family still has unanswered questions. They have planned a memorial march for Victor on April 6, Victor’s 36th birthday, and they are inviting members of the community to join. The walk is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., and will begin at the old Crow Merc parking lot in Crow Agency, and will end at the Black Lodge Community Center in Dunmore.

The memorial walk is planned for Victor Three Irons on his birthday, April 6 in Crow Agency. The flier is blue, because it was Victor’s favorite color.
The memorial walk is planned for Victor Three Irons on his birthday, April 6 in Crow Agency. The flier is blue, because it was Victor’s favorite color.

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