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Senior High lockdown

School resource officer Mitch Hillier and other Billings Police officers search cars in the parking lot of Billings Senior High after the school was locked down during a weapons incident Tuesday, October 22.

A 17-year-old Billings boy has been cited with a misdemeanor after Senior High went into lockdown last week in response to a report of a gun on or near school property.

The teen and another teen boy were detained that day more than two miles away from the school. Police found two airsoft pistols.

Lt. Brandon Wooley of the Billings Police Department said Friday he did not believe the boy who was cited ever entered the school with the airsoft pistol, although there had been reports of a teen boy in the school with a gun.

Wooley said the boy was facing a misdemeanor disorderly conduct citation in Youth Court. He said no other individuals would be charged in the incident.

The boy was accused of violating the law by “creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose,” Wooley said, citing a section of state code.

No further information on the misdemeanor citation was immediately available. Tara French, chief juvenile probation officer, was out of the office Friday.

Cases in Youth Court that are handled informally are closed to the public and youth probation officers determine consequences. The bulk of cases in Youth Court are handled informally.

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Formal cases have a prosecutor assigned to them, if the probation officer deems the allegations serious enough. This was the case in Rosebud County in February, when a 14-year-old boy was accused of shooting another teen boy with an AR-15 at a private home in Colstrip.

Two-thirds of the cases in Youth Court in Montana in 2017 were handled informally, according to a report by the state. Another 10% were handled formally, while the remainder of the cases were either dismissed or pending disposition.

The high school lockdown on Oct. 22 lasted roughly an hour and a half and saw at least 30 local, state and federal officers respond, Police Chief Rich St. John estimated.

The incident began when the school resource officer at Senior received information that two possibly armed people were heading into the school or were already inside.

Police eventually detained two juvenile males in a car in a South Side neighborhood as the two were headed to one of the boys' homes. Officers found two airsoft pistols.

Wooley said police initially questioned juveniles in Pioneer Park, after reports that armed juveniles were seen there.

But the teens in the park merely fit the same description as the boys later detained on the South Side and were not involved in the incident, Wooley said.

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