Man killed, 1-year-old boy suffers fatal injuries in Montana shooting, suspects identified
Nov 2, 2023, 10:11 AM | Updated: Nov 3, 2023, 8:08 am
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A man was shot to death and a 1-year-old boy suffered fatal injuries after gunfire was sprayed into a residence in Montana’s largest city. Several suspects have been identified as the investigation is ongoing, Billings Police said Thursday.
Wednesday’s shooting, coming just four days after a Rocky Mountain College football player was shot and killed near campus, led police Chief Rich St. John and other officials to hold a news conference to talk about the city’s increasing gun violence and gang activity. They asked residents to do their part to help prevent crime — including securing their firearms.
“We’re seeing 14- to 24-year-old young males who don’t know how to problem-solve without gun violence,” St. John said.
On Wednesday, neighbors reported the occupants of a pickup truck fired multiple rounds into a residence before speeding away, St. John said. Responding officers found a 31-year-old man dead lying on top of the boy, who was unresponsive.
“It appears that the adult collapsed from his wounds and fell on the child,” St. John said.
The boy, who was just days shy of his first birthday, died later at the hospital, police Lt. Matt Lennick said. A dog had also been shot, St. John said.
Officers found about 25 shell casings of two different calibers in the street, the chief said.
Police located the vehicle believed to have been involved in the shooting outside a pair of residences where 10 people were detained after a five-hour standoff with a SWAT team, St. John said. No charges had been filed by Thursday afternoon, but several suspects had been identified, he said.
The names of the victims and any motive for the shootings have not been released. Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said those who are charged may also face charges for gang-related activity.
Officials said Wednesday’s shooting was not related to the shooting death of freshman Chandler Wyatt Stallcup, 18, of Crystal River, Florida, near Rocky Mountain College. Two boys, ages 16 and 17, have been arrested and are expected to appear in court to face charges Friday, Twito said.
The suspects in Stallcup’s shooting are known gang members, St. John said, but the shooting itself was not gang-related.
During the news conference, officials asked residents to stop leaving guns in their vehicles because they are being stolen and used in violent crimes. Of 222 firearms reported stolen in Billings so far this year, 128 have come from vehicles, St. John said.
Contributing to the situation, the Yellowstone County jail is full, in part because there’s no more capacity at the Montana State Prison for people who have been sentenced, St. John said. Juvenile detention centers are also at capacity, he said.
“Suffice it to say some of the people we’re dealing with would not be out causing problems if we did not have space issues,” St. John said.
This story has been corrected to say the boy was not killed by gunfire.