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Bozeman Police: No increase in crime among urban campers despite recent stabbing

Posted at 4:56 PM, Jul 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-11 12:42:28-04

BOZEMAN — Last week, an urban camper was charged with attempted deliberate homicide after he allegedly stabbed another camper on Iron Horse Road. Police say that crime is not on the rise in these communities.

According to court documents, Bozeman Police responded to a report of a man who walked to the American Medical Response office on Industrial Drive with stab wounds. The victim told officers that Lonny Ray Williams was the one who stabbed him and that the alleged assault took place in a camper the victim has been staying in.

Officers found Williams around 12:30 am Friday morning on Iron Horse Road near Bozeman beach in a tent. Williams allegedly had blood on his hands, and drops of blood outside of his tent. Bozeman Detective Captain Dana Mcneil says crimes like these can occur in these communities because of the circumstances.

“Oftentimes, people in those communities are dealing with mental health issues or substance abuse issues and those present those sort of complications that you could imagine go along with those sorts of dynamics,” says Detective McNeil.

Bozeman City Employees say that there are more urban campers in town now than ever before, but Detective McNeil insists there hasn’t been an increase in crime within homeless communities.

“I'm not sure that we're seeing anything in particular that's an increase in dealing with those particular communities over anything that we've seen historically,” says Detective McNeil. "Our agency has frequent interactions with the homeless community. A lot of our officers are on a first-name basis with a lot of those people and have a good working relationship with a lot of them.”

Detective McNeil says a crime like this stabbing is usually not random.

“A very frequent dynamic in these types of investigations is that, you know, they aren't random incidences. These are typically people that know one another and have motivations to do what they do,” says Detective McNeil. “If people have concerns about their own personal safety, I guess I wouldn't be too concerned about in terms of it being a random sort of event.”

Williams' next court date is set for July 21 and he's being held at the Gallatin County Jail on a $200,000 bond.