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Big Bear SWAT line

Billings police SWAT Team members line up to enter Big Bear after a man barricaded himself in the building and fired on officers. The man was shot a removed from the building Saturday afternoon.

The man suspected of barricading himself at Big Bear Sports Center and engaging in a 10-hour standoff with police Saturday was shot and killed by police officers, an autopsy has confirmed.

Police had previously been unable to confirm whether Frank Joey Half Jr.'s death was self-inflicted.

The autopsy was completed Monday, according to a press release from Billings Police Department Lieutenant Neil Lawrence.

An investigation into the lengthy standoff is being conducted by the BPD, Lawrence stated in an email to The Billings Gazette Tuesday. No other law enforcement agencies are assisting in the investigation, he said.

Aside from information provided by Police Chief Rich St. John during a press conference Monday, no other details are being released at this time, Lawrence stated.

"Once the investigation is complete, it will be forwarded to the County Attorney's office, who will then schedule a coroner's inquest," Lawrence wrote in the press release. "Additional investigative details will be released during the inquest."

Big Bear Sports Center released a statement Tuesday evening expressing gratitude for local law enforcement's response and the support the Billings community has shown the business in the days since the "tragedy that took place this past Saturday." 

Interior and exterior damage assessments are ongoing but the business does intend to reopen, according to the release, though it does not offer a specific target date or timeline. 

"We have an abundance of appreciation for our City and the exceptionally professional way they handled this crisis for all involved," the press release says. "The outpouring of support has been incredible and we are grateful to call Billings home and the people that live here our neighbors. Your messages, comments, well wishes and thoughts have helped get us through the long days."  

Big Bear Sports Center has been a locally owned and operated business since it opened in 1959 as a surplus store in Billings, according to the release. The store's only other location is in Great Falls. 


Morning Reporter

General assignment reporter for the Billings Gazette.