THREE FORKS - Around 3:30 am Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, Gallatin County Sheriff's Office and other agencies received calls of a shooting in Three Forks near 6th Ave and Ash street. Officers responded to the scene approximately 20 minutes after the first call came in.
“They found two deceased males that were on scene there,” said Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer. “This was not a random act of violence. These individuals had a prior altercation in the early morning hours.”
Residents were notified around 6:45 a.m. via an alert to their phones. The Sheriff's Office was able to identify those involved right before 8 a.m. and were being questioned by Detectives. Owner of The Shoppe Pastry and Coffeehouse, Rikayla Bjorndal, says seeing that notification gave her an unsettling feeling.
“You kind of get that sinking feeling in your stomach when you see something like that,” says Bjorndal.
The last time something of this magnitude happened near Three Forks was the murder of Broadwater County Deputy Mason Moore in May of 2017.
“It just doesn't happen so it's nerve-wracking, it's unsettling,” says Bjorndal.
Neighbors who spoke with MTN news say they thought it sounded like fireworks and didn't realize what was going on until they heard and saw police rushing toward the scene. Those around the neighborhood and at The Shoppe say they still have more questions than answers.
“Just a lot of ‘Have you heard?’ ‘Do you know what's going on?’ and we have just been working so there is not a whole lot we know, says Bjorndal.
Sheriff Springer reiterates that there is no threat to the community at this time but acknowledges the severity of the situation in a tight-knit community.
“We are saddened by this event. It's tough on a community like this. We know that this is hard on everybody,” said Springer.
The incident continues to be under investigation and no names have been released by authorities. We'll continue to follow this story and will update as more information is provided.