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Man toting gun near Billings elementary school pleads guilty to federal crime

Posted at 6:30 AM, Mar 26, 2024

BILLINGS - The Billings man accused of brandishing a gun on the sidewalk in front of his residence across from Broadwater Elementary School last summer pleaded guilty Monday to one federal firearms charge, according to U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich.

Gabriel Cowan Metcalf, 49, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm in a school zone and faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $100,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

According to charging documents, Metcalf carried a 20-gauge shotgun on the sidewalk across the school, which is public property, multiple times from Aug. 2, 2023 to Aug. 17, 2023. He was seen pacing with the weapon in front of his home on the 400 block of Broadwater Avenue, walking onto the property of a nearby business with the gun and holding the gun while staring at the school across the street, according to prosecutors.

On Aug. 17, law enforcement spoke to Metcalf, who admitted to carrying the gun and said he was patrolling the neighborhood, according to prosecutors.

He told MTN News on Aug. 22that he was carrying the weapon for self-defense following a dispute with a neighbor, and he meant no harm toward anyone at Broadwater Elementary.

"I'm not here to intimidate or frighten," he said at the time.

Nevertheless, students at Broadwater Elementary were moved out of the playground area facing Metcalf's home during recess at the start of the school year as a precaution.

Billings police said they had received multiple complaints about Metcalf but did not arrest him because police said he had violated no state gun laws.

On Aug. 23, Metcalf wasarrested by federal agents and charged with a federal gun crime.

Sentencing is set for Aug. 2 before U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters. Metcalf’s release on conditions was continued pending further proceedings, according to Laslovich.