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Airport Road

The Billings Police Department investigates an incident on Airport Road on Friday, May 12, 2017.

A coroner’s inquest has been scheduled for next week in the case of a man shot by police atop the Rims in May.

Ryan Lowell, 30, was killed May 12, 2017, after an hour-long standoff with Billings Police officers along Highway 3.

The inquest will be Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 9 a.m. at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in room 601.

Police had been called to the Rims after a woman reported her boyfriend was threatening suicide and may be on the Rims. Her description of the vehicle led officers to the man 10 minutes later.

A police negotiator had spoken to Lowell for nearly an hour without success, Police Chief Rich St. John later said. During that time, Lowell displayed a handgun several times before approaching officers and pointing a gun at them, eventually firing at least one shot.

Four officers opened fire simultaneously from 80 to 100 feet away, according to St. John.

Lowell was given medical aid by officers and then taken to the Billings Clinic.

The four Billings officers involved in the shooting were identified as 19-year-veteran Sgt. Clyde Reid; 20-year veteran Officer Steve Swanson; Officer Philip Tanis, who has been with BPD for two years; and Officer Michael Freeman, who has been with the department for a year and a half.

Coroner’s inquests are required under Montana law whenever law enforcement is involved in a fatal shooting or someone dies in law enforcement custody.

Citizen juries hear testimony and then make a recommendation on whether criminal charges are warranted. A final decision is up to prosecutors.


Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.