A 21-year-old man is being held on four counts of assault with a weapon and two counts of robbery after he allegedly went on a slashing and stabbing spree at Jake’s Restaurant in downtown Billings Wednesday night.
The Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office was preparing to formally charge Brandon Eugene Bird Thursday afternoon. Bird has not yet been arraigned and has not answered the charges in court.
Bird had been fired from his job at the restaurant earlier in the day after getting in an altercation with another employee the night before. Bird worked as a dishwasher. At about 5:43 p.m. he allegedly came into the restaurant near the bar, grabbed two steak knives and yelled, “Give me all your money.”
The manager confronted him and coaxed him to the alleyway. Bird then came after the employees with the knives following them into the kitchen. He confronted other employees to include the employee he had been fighting with the night before and the manager with the weapons. Multiple people were slashed or stabbed.
The employees tried to fend off the attacks. One of the victims threw dishes at Bird to get him to stop attacking another employee.
Bird then left the restaurant, possibly because he was being shoved or chased out, police said. He is alleged to have started confronting people on the sidewalk and he possibly demanded money from passersby.
Bird then reentered the restaurant and injured two more employees, said BPD Sgt. Clyde Reid Wednesday night.
When the first police officers arrived, charges say they found several people in a state of “shock and hysteria”. The cops entered the kitchen and found two men covered in blood grappling with Bird. One of those men was BPD Detective Raschkow, according to charges.
One of the two responding cops then used a Taser on Bird, but he continued to resist commands to put his hands behind his back. After the three cops wrestled with Bird while employees told them he still had a knife under him, they eventually freed Bird’s arms and he was arrested.
In total, five people were wounded and three were taken to area hospitals. One victim sustained wounds to the neck, another was stabbed in the chest and back, and the third had his arm slashed.
Bird is a prior felon for crimes he committed in Missoula County in 2019. Bird was on prerelease in Billings for both criminal mischief and robbery when he entered Jake’s on Wednesday night. He had been resentenced for the robbery case after an apparent parole violation according to publicly available government data and charges say he was on a revoked status. He had only been in the city since Sept. 22.
Each of the assault with a weapon charges carry a maximum of 20 years in prison. The robberies carry a minimum four years and up to 40 years in prison.