BILLINGS – A man was wounded and taken into custody exchanging gunfire with police and holing up for two hours in an east Billings resident Tuesday evening.
The man, who was not identified, fired shots at two Montana Department of Corrections parole officers who knocked on his door on the 1600 block of Second Avenue North just after 4:30 p.m.
The officers returned fire, but neither were injured, Billings Police Chief Rich St. John said. The suspect barricaded himself inside the single-family home as law enforcement from the city, county and state arrived at the scene.
Police called in a hostage negotiator and spoke to the man with a bullhorn.
Just before 7 p.m., they fired bean bags to disable cameras around the house. They used the Bear armored vehicle to tear down the front door and enter the residence, where they discovered the man on the ground with an assault rifle near him.
Officers ordered him to put his hands up and fired at least two more bean bag rounds into him and a flash diversionary device to disorient him, St. John said. Once he was contained, police searched the rest of the house and found no one there, he said.
He was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his wound to the abdomen and is under guard over the night. St. John said the man was known to police and was in his 60s, though he was not immediately identified.
An investigation will be turned over to the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, St. John said. The Department of Corrections must also determine the next steps for its two officers who initially fired at the suspect. For Billings police, officers involved in shootings are typically put on paid administrative leave during an investigation.
Just last month, Billings police killed suspects in two separate incidents within 24 hours, and the department has been involved in five different officer-involved fatal shootings since May 2017.
St. John praised the officers involved in this latest incident for ending the standoff without a fatality.
"What a fantastic job that everyone did," he said.
– Reporting by Samantha Harrelson