A “person of interest” in Sunday’s fatal shooting in Belgrade has been released according to Belgrade Police Chief E.J. Clark Jr.
In a press release issued Tuesday night, Clark said the suspect needed to be released without arrest.
“I understand this fact will upset people and they will not understand the reasons,” Clark’s statement read. “Everyone must understand that the investigators know the severity of this case and they share the public’s feelings for justice.”
“Without someone in custody, several people have raised concerns about the publics’ safety during this time. The investigators and command staffs involved in this case want you to know that the public’s safety is our number one concern. If we feel there is an urgent public safety risk we will immediately notify you by the quickest means.”
Belgrade Police responded to a report of a shooting incident on Sunday, Jan. 7 at approximately 9 a.m. on Idaho St. in Belgrade.
Inside the home, officers located two victims with gunshot wounds. Lauren Walder Dewise, 35, of Bozeman was dead and Ashley Van Hemert was injured. Van Hemert remains hospitalized
An outpouring on social media and a link to a YouCaring donation page pointed to Van Hemert as the injured victim. Law enforcement has not released any status on her condition at this time, but according to the YouCaring page, Van Hemert has undergone surgery for her injuries.
MTN reached out to Van Hemert's family for more information on her condition but has yet to hear back.
Chief Clark’s full statement follows:
"Citizens of Belgrade and the Gallatin Valley,
The Belgrade Police Department responded to a shooting incident on Idaho Street in Belgrade on January 7, 2018 at approximately 9:00 a.m.
Upon arrival officers entered and located two victims. One victim was deceased and one was transported to the hospital for medical treatment and remains hospitalized. No one else was inside the home at that time. After speaking with witnesses officers located and detained a person of interest and that person was interviewed.
Throughout the day and night Investigators and officers from the Belgrade Police Department, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Bozeman Police Department, Montana State University Police and members from Federal agencies have worked tirelessly to complete numerous interviews, process the scene and follow up leads developed by their efforts and those reported by citizens.
It became apparent that the person of interest would need to be released without arrest. I understand this fact will upset people and they will not understand the reasons. Everyone must understand that the investigators know the severity of this case and they share the public’s feelings for justice.
We realize that those not familiar with how the Justice system works may not understand this process and become angry and frustrated. We in Law Enforcement hear you and understand your feelings and concerns. We also know that you want us to get it right. I can tell you that the investigative team is working very hard to obtain justice for these victims and their families.
Without someone in custody several people have raised concerns about the publics’ safety during this time. The investigators and command staffs involved in this case want you to know that the public’s safety is our number one concern. If we feel there is an urgent public safety risk we will immediately notify you by the quickest means.
During these investigations we cannot give out all the details that everyone wants to know. We sympathize with you and ask for your understanding and patience. Please trust in the officers that we all count on.
Chief E. J. Clark Jr."
Additional reporting by Kenneth Webb, Ken Spencer, Morgan Davies