Man shot Sunday now sought on burglary charges

2014-05-15T16:15:00Z 2014-06-10T16:33:06Z Man shot Sunday now sought on burglary chargesBy CHRIS CIOFFI ccioffi@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a man who was shot in the leg Sunday night during a home invasion that he is suspected to be involved in.

An arrest warrant for Christopher James Michelotti was filed in the court of Judge Pedro R. Hernandez on Thursday, according to Senior Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Ed Zink.

Michelotti has been charged with aggravated burglary and his bond has been set at $500,000, Zink said. He is being actively sought.

Thursday morning, Billings Clinic officials confirmed that Michelotti is no longer in the clinic’s care. Julie Burton, spokesperson at Billings Clinic, confirmed that he was on their patient roster earlier this week.

Whether Michelotti was released from the hospital or if he left the hospital against doctor’s orders has not been determined.

There was no police officer guarding him while he was in the hospital because he had not been charged with a crime, according to Billings Police Detective Lt. Jeremy House.

In court documents submitted to the Yellowstone County District Court Tuesday, Michelotti and Danny Jo Lira, 37, allegedly forced their way into a home in the 3000 block of Eighth Avenue South at about 11 p.m. Sunday.

Lira appeared Tuesday in Yellowstone County Justice Court on charges of felony aggravated burglary by accountability and misdemeanor obstructing a peace officer.

Police responded to a 911 call at the residence and heard gunshots coming from inside the home.

According to court documents, a man at the home shot Michelotti in the leg with a shotgun when Michelotti ignored warnings to go away. The documents say Michelotti was brandishing a handgun.

All six of the people who were in the house safely got out after breaking out a window. Lira and Michelotti were taken into custody after they came out through the front door of the house.

Police interviewed the man who shot Michelotti and released him, pending further investigation, court records state.

Some of the people in the home where the shooting took place had an encounter with Lira and Michelotti earlier Sunday, according to court documents.

Three of the occupants of the house said they had gone to visit Lira at his trailer home on Washington Street.

Two of the people said Lira invited them in and a second man, later identified as Michelotti, was hiding behind a door with a handgun and appeared to be high on methamphetamine.

One of the men reported seeing drugs and drug paraphernalia at the home, and the two of them said the situation made them uncomfortable, so they quickly left.

Michelotti was initially detained with Lira in the aftermath of Sunday’s incident, but was eventually taken to Billings Clinic for treatment.

Lira’s charging affidavit states officers attempted to interview Michelotti at the hospital.

He told officers that he was merely visiting a friend when he was shot, but he refused to elaborate and requested an attorney.

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

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