Police arrest man in connection with Christmas Day homicide in Heights

2012-12-25T19:45:00Z 2014-08-25T09:23:20Z Police arrest man in connection with Christmas Day homicide in HeightsCARMEN DAYE IRISH cirish@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

The Billings Police Department arrested a Billings man in connection with a fatal shooting in a Heights neighborhood early Christmas Day.

David B. Isaacson, 41, was arrested Tuesday morning on suspicion of deliberate homicide.

Police responded at about 1 a.m. to a report of gunshots fired at the intersection of Galway Drive and Hawthorne Lane.

Upon their arrival, they discovered the victim, Sabah Mallak, 34, of Billings, lying in the street in front of a house at 1137 Galway Drive, where he was pronounced dead.

Near the man's body, a red Pontiac Grand Am had crashed through the fence at the residence on Galway, coming to rest in the front yard.

Police spent most of Tuesday investigating the shooting in and around the suspect’s home at 1207 Yellowstone River Road, a half-block north of where the victim’s body was found.

The area of Galway Drive and a pickup truck in the alley of the suspect’s home were closed off with crime scene tape and 10 detective cars lined the streets of the crime scene.

Billings police investigators, with the assistance of the Billings Fire Department’s rope and rescue team, recovered a firearm just across the road from the suspect’s home that they believe was used in the fatal shooting.

Detective Sgt. Casey Hafner said the gun, a revolver, was found shortly before 11 a.m. about 30 feet down a steep bank off of Yellowstone River Road.

Fire Capt. Tim Stavnes was tied into a harness anchored to a fire truck frame and lowered down the steep and icy slope toward the Yellowstone River. He said he used a camera, a global positioning system and a large magnet to recover the revolver.

The Billings Police Department's crime scene investigation van sat in the alley behind the suspect’s home at 1207 Yellowstone River Road until about 4:20 p.m. until police moved the van to the front of the home after they obtained a search warrant to search the house for evidence related to the shooting.

Investigators went in and out of the house transporting evidence out of the home concealed in brown paper bags and into the crime scene van for processing. At one point, an unconcealed firearm was removed from the home.

Two vehicles, including the Grand Am, were also impounded for evidence.

Outside of the home, investigators photographed and measured what appeared to be a quarter-sized bullet hole on the rear passenger side of a Buick car parked in the driveway. Detective Sgt. Mitch Hart declined to say whether shell casings had been recovered, how many shots the victim sustained and the area where the shooting had occurred.

Several neighbors said they heard about four shots but were reluctant to go on the record out of concern that people involved in the shooting would retaliate.

One neighbor said he thought the shots were fireworks until he saw minutes later that the neighborhood was lit up by lights from emergency response vehicles.

According to a Billings police press release, the initial investigation has determined the suspect and victim knew each other.

The department declined to say what led to the shooting.

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