Man hospitalized after downtown shooting; search for gunman under way

2012-04-19T06:30:00Z 2014-08-25T23:51:20Z Man hospitalized after downtown shooting; search for gunman under wayBy ZACH BENOIT The Billings Gazette

Police continue to search for a suspect after a man was shot early Thursday in a downtown neighborhood.

The man who was shot, a 43-year-old Billings resident, remained hospitalized Thursday evening.

Police have a person of interest in the case but had not tracked that person down as of 11:30 p.m., Sgt. Neil Lawrence said.

Lt. Mark Cady said that patrol officers and detectives are working together in a search for the gunman.

At about 6:15 a.m. on Thursday, Billings Police officers were called to the 2600 block of Seventh Avenue North, across the street from the Albertsons store, after reports of gunfire.

Sgt. Shawn Mayo said when police arrived, they found a man who appeared to be in his 40s or 50s lying in the grass with a gunshot wound.

As emergency crews tended to the man, he could be seen gesturing and speaking with them before they loaded him into an ambulance and took him to Billings Clinic.

Iffland said the man was shot in his left thigh. He was still at the hospital as of 3 p.m. and underwent surgery earlier in the day.

Witnesses told investigators that the man was standing between two cars when someone drove up in a white passenger car.

"He was standing in the alley and somebody shot him," said Detectives Capt. TJ Vladic.

Mayo said the man and the shooter may have gotten into an argument Wednesday night or early Thursday in the hours before the shooting.

Joseph Nez Perce said he was in North Park six blocks away when the shooting happened. He said he heard two shots.

"It sounded like it was a high-powered or high-caliber weapon, like a rifle," he said. "I heard it from all the way over there."

Police quickly put up yellow crime scene tape around the southeast quarter of the block.

By 7:30 a.m., the department's crime scene investigation truck was at the scene and detectives were scouring the area for evidence.

"Officers are following up on suspect information and the investigation is continuing," Iffland said.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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