LODGE GRASS – Federal prosecutors said Friday they could not determine who was at fault when three people were shot and killed after breaking into a Lodge Grass home in August 2017.
U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said in a news release that Nehemiah Brokenrope, Frank Nomee Jr. and Denise Stewart forcibly entered a home on the Crow reservation with at least one gun and another weapon.
Shots were fired, and the occupant in the home was shot in the abdomen. Brokenrope, Nomee and Stewart were all shot at the home and brought to local hospitals. Brokenrope and Nomee Jr. died at Indian Health Service in Crow Agency. Stewart died at St. Vincent Health Care in Billings.
Alme said in his statement that authorities conducted an extensive, 10-month investigation, which included witness interviews, evidence collection and analysis and autopsies.
Nevertheless, he said they could not conclusively determine who shot whom, in what order the shots were fired, or who actually fired the kill shots.
“This case has been a priority for the FBI, the BIA, and this office. Violent deaths are a tragedy, and this incident has had deep impacts on the Crow Tribe and the residents of Lodge Grass. We send our condolences to the entire community,” Alme said in the statement.
Authorities issued an alert for person of interest, Roderick Plentyhawk, who was arrested in late October in Billings on suspicion of a separate shooting. It was not immediately clear Friday if Plentyhawk remains in custody.
About a week later, the house where the killings occurred burned to the ground, destroying most if not all evidence. Authorities did not say at the time if the fire was related to the killings.
Crow Tribal Chairman A.J. Not Afraid blamed methamphetamine for the shooting and called for more law enforcement on the reservation to fight the problem.