A 26-year-old Shepherd man was shot and killed by police north of downtown Billings on Sunday afternoon, after the person allegedly pulled a weapon on officers near a pawn shop, according to Billings police.
“There was some sort of pursuit, and during foot pursuit the suspect produced a weapon,” Assistant Billings Police Chief Jeremy House said, speaking about one hour after the shooting. “Shots were fired — we’re still trying to determine who fired when — and a suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.”
No officers were injured and only one person was shot, he said.
Two officers had been responding to a "suspicious call" prior to the foot chase, Billings Police Lt. Brandon Wooley later stated in a social media post. The victim's name has not been released.
Officers made contact with the man in the parking lot of the Northside Pawn shop, House said, and the pursuit continued west around the side of Enterprise Rent-A-Car before the shooting took place near the alley between North 23rd and North 22nd streets and between First and Second avenues north.
Other information, including the type of weapon, the number of shots fired and what the man did with the weapon, was not immediately available, House said.
The shooting occurred at 1:51 p.m., according to the social media post.
A man and a woman were also put in handcuffs and were being questioned by police in front of the pawn shop. They were later placed in police cars and driven away from the scene. House said he was unsure whether they were connected to the incident.
Nearby residents gathered in front of the 100 block of North 23rd Street, and multiple people said they heard between 10 and 20 shots fired. The man’s body was visible on the ground in a side-yard between 111 N. 23rd St. and the Enterprise shop before white sheets were hung across to obscure his body from view.
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Billings resident Alvin Grant, who lives in one of the neighboring houses, said he was walking his dog on the other side of the street when he saw police officers chasing the man.
“He pulled a pistol out on the cops, and the cops told him to drop it,” Grant said, adding that two officers then fired what he estimated were 15 shots.
Speaking later Sunday afternoon, Wooley said no additional information would be released until Monday.
On the other side of the alley, Laura Cutrone had been working on her car in a portable garage in her driveway, when she heard an apparent argument break out nearby, but couldn't make out the words.
"Just two people yelling back and forth with each other," she said. That was followed by what she said sounded "like a 20-round magazine. It (sounded) like a strip of firecrackers."
Crime scene tape extended around most of block's western half after the shooting occurred. More than 15 police cars were parked around the block, and traffic on First Avenue North was being diverted north until the street reopened at about 2:45 p.m.
The Billings Fire Department and local ambulances also responded to the incident.
By 4 p.m., the police presence had thinned out, and detectives working out of the department's Crime Scene Investigations truck were investigating at the scene. Police tape still cordoned off portions of the block as night fell.