A Lodge Grass man admitted he tried to rob a Billings Gazette employee who was delivering newspapers and that he told the employee, “This is a nice-ass car, homie, I want your car.”
Cameron Emmanuel Falls Down, 22, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery during a hearing on Thursday before U.S. District Judge Susan Watters in Billings. There was no plea agreement.
Falls Down is among four people indicted in the case and the second to plead guilty. Jerray Eugene Rowland pleaded guilty in November, while PearlieJo Samantha Old Dwarf and Jaylen Migual Medicine Bull have pleaded not guilty and are set for a March 12 jury trial.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Suek said the attempted robbery happened at 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 2, 2016, when a longtime Gazette employee was delivering newspapers to the IGA in Lodge Grass on the Crow Reservation.
The Gazette employee, who was driving a 2006 Chevrolet sedan, pulled up to the IGA and heard and saw the defendants running at him and yelling, Suek said.
The employee dropped the papers, got back into his car, locked the doors and put it in gear.
The four defendants surrounded the car and Falls Down, who was standing by the driver’s window, said, “This is a nice-ass car, homie. I want your car,” Suek said.
Rowland, who was on the passenger side of the car, thumped the vehicle and shone a flashlight in the employee’s eyes.
The employee waited until no one was standing in front of his vehicle and then he drove away, Suek said.
As he left, Falls Down pulled out a C02 pistol and fired at the car, Suek continued.
The employee heard a popping noise and thought it sounded like a .22-caliber gun, Suek said.
Only later, when the employee inspected his car and saw a dent did he realize that a real gun probably did not make the popping sound, Suek said.
A video surveillance camera mounted on the outside of the IGA store recorded the crime.
In interviews later with investigators, some defendants admitted statements were made to the effect of, “should we roll him,” “should we get a car,” “show me how it’s done” and “hey home boy, I like your car,” Suek said.
Falls Down told the judge he was under the influence of alcohol at the time and was trying to scare or intimidate the Gazette employee.
Falls Down faces a maximum 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Watters set sentencing for May 9. Falls Down remains in custody.