A Billings man who was shot by his elderly grandfather during a domestic disturbance was charged Tuesday in District Court.
Dennis Michael Vezina Jr., 27, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on a felony burglary charge and two counts of misdemeanor partner or family member assault. Judge Russell Fagg set bond at $15,000.
Vezina was arrested Dec. 13 after police were called to a house at 2710 Rimrock Road at about 10:45 p.m. Witnesses said Vezina was intoxicated and accused his 59-year-old aunt of stealing prescription drugs. Vezina’s 89-year-old grandfather told Vezina to leave the house, but instead the man went into his aunt’s bedroom and began going through her medications.
The aunt tried to stop Vezina, court records state, but he pushed her down onto a bed. When the woman grabbed a stepstool, Vezina is accused of taking it away and pushing her down again, knocking off her glasses.
The woman said she called for help.
The elderly man said he heard the calls and armed himself with a pistol, which was loaded with one round of bird shot. He went to confront Vezina, who yelled at the elderly man to shoot him and charged him, court records state.
The elderly man said the gun discharged during a struggle, and the bird shot hit Vezina in the chest. Vezina screamed and ran from the house to a neighbor’s house. The neighbor called 911.
Vezina was found nearby and taken to a hospital for treatment before he was arrested.