Deadly year: Friday shooting marks 4th death in officer-involved shootings

2013-07-05T14:28:00Z 2013-11-22T15:28:06Z Deadly year: Friday shooting marks 4th death in officer-involved shootingsGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

The fatal shooting involving a Yellowstone County sheriff's deputy Friday marks the fourth time this year that area officers have been involved in fatal gunfire.

On Jan. 6, Daniel Brawley was shot and killed by Billings Police Officer David Punt after Brawley sped off in Punt's patrol car on Miles Avenue, striking the officer as he passed. 

Brawley had been arrested after a three-hour standoff that began when officers were investigating a burglary.

It was later determined that Brawley had slipped out of plastic handcuffs and crawled through a divider between the front and back seats.

On Feb. 11, Jason James Shaw was shot and killed by Billings Police Officer Grant Morrison on Custer Avenue.

Police officials said Morrison fired once at Shaw as Shaw reached for a gun from his clothing. The gun was later determined to be a replica.

On May 17, two Yellowstone County sheriff's deputies were involved in the fatal shooting of Thomas Hilger in Worden.

Hilger was shot after the deputies responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle behind the bar Hilger owned. Hilger was shot when he pulled out a handgun. 

The body of Hilger's 22-year-old girlfriend, Erica Yurian, was found in a nearby vehicle.

Coroner's inquests are required under state law whenever officers are involved in a death. Dates for the inquest hearings in the three fatal shootings have yet to be announced.    

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