Three Billings teenagers accused of assaulting a police officer at Rimrock Mall pleaded not guilty Thursday to all charges in District Court before Judge Mary Jane Knisely.
Billings Police Officer Tanner Buechler received minor injuries in the incident, Sgt. Kevin Iffland said.
“He went right back to work after it happened,” Iffland said. “He continued his shift and didn't go to the hospital.”
All three teenagers — Larry Neal Archuleta Jr., 18; his brother, Richard Alan Archuleta, 17; and Marlin Sundance Parker, 15, appeared in court Thursday. The two minors are being held at the youth detention center. Archuleta appeared by video from the Yellowstone County jail.
According to court records, Buechler was sent to Rimrock Mall after police received information that Parker had left the youth detention center and had been seen at the mall. The officer found the teens and asked them to accompany him to his patrol car. After verifying Parker's identity, the officer told the boy he was being taken into custody and began to place him in handcuffs. Prosecutors said Parker yelled “Get him” and the three teens attacked the officer, punching him in the back of the head and trying to grab his pistol. Buechler kept control of the firearm, but he was “unable to access it due to the attack,” court records state.
Security officers from the mall eventually came to Buechler's aid and the teens were arrested. Buechler was able to access his Taser and ordered Larry Neal Archuleta Jr. to the ground, court documents said.
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“He couldn't get to his gun, but he could get to his Taser safely,” Iffland said. “He pulled it out, but he did not use his Taser.
“He still had three people he was dealing with. If he deployed his Taser at that point, he was kind of out of options if the other two still wanted to go after it (his gun).”
Parker and Richard Alan Archuleta have transfer hearings scheduled for 9 a.m. March 1, where the court will hear arguments on whether the juveniles' case will remain in District Court or will be transferred to youth court.
Knisely continued the $5,000 bond both teens had set at their appearance in Justice Court. Knisely also continued Larry Neal Archuleta Jr.'s $50,000 bond.
“You were the adult in this incident and attempted to get an officer's firearm while he was being assaulted,” Knisely said.