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Second suspect in custody after Helena baseball fields shooting

Helena baseball fields shooting
Posted at 8:52 AM, Feb 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-24 18:45:13-05

UPDATE: 3:30 p.m. - Feb 24, 2023

HELENA — A second suspect in the Ryan Fields shooting has been detained by law enforcement Friday afternoon.

Helena Police say 18-year-old Julien McKnight of Clancy has been arrested for two counts of attempted deliberate homicide and two counts of tampering with evidence.

Law enforcement alleges Jonathon Countryman and McKnight brought a gun to Ryan Fields and confront individuals they were in a disagreement with. McKnight allegedly is the one who shot several rounds Thursday night, injuring the two juvenile males.

HPD says the investigation is ongoing, but it is believed this incident is isolated to the involved parties.

(second report: 2 p.m. - Feb 24, 2023)

HELENA — Jonathon James Countryman made his initial appearance in Lewis and Clark Justice Court Friday. The 18-year-old has been charged with two felony counts of accountability to attempted deliberate homicide.

Witnesses told investigators that an altercation had started when two women began arguing and making threats over personal issues over the phone, and that the two parties agreed to meet on Custer Avenue near Ryan Park and the Fairgrounds.

Prosecutors say in charging documents that once at the baseball fields a group of people approached Countryman's vehicle and at least one person was attempting to pull him out of the car while another hit the car with a metal rod.

It was around that time that witnesses reported hearing gunshots and two people sustained life-threatening injuries.

Helena baseball fields map

The witnesses told police that they saw glass breaking and shooting coming from where Countryman was sitting.

Police say Countryman returned to the scene while investigators were still there and was detained.

When questioned, police say, Countryman told them that he heard a gunshot and found the window to his vehicle broken out. During questioning, Countryman alleged that a second suspect had taken the gun from their residence and was positioned in the back seat of the car with the weapon and would begin shooting if the altercation got out of hand.

However, police say Countryman admittedly lied numerous times during the interview.

The charges of accountability to attempted deliberate homicide carry a minimum of 10 years in prison.

(first report: 8:52 a.m. - Feb. 24, 2023)

HELENA — A suspect is in custody following a late Thursday night shooting at the baseball fields near the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds.

Helena Police say around 9:30 p.m. a caller notified dispatch two juvenile males had been shot at Ryan Fields and the caller was transporting them to St. Peter’s ER for help.

“At the ER, the two juvenile males were being treated by physicians and it was verified they both had gunshot wounds. Officers located evidence at Ryan Fields consistent with the information reported,” said HPD Lieutenant Jayson Zander in a statement to the press.

Helena baseball fields shooting

Zander further stated an 18-year-old suspect was identified and was located several hours later in the area.

“From the initial investigation, this is believed to be an isolated incident between the involved parties,” added Zander.

The identity of the suspect has not been released at this time. It is also unclear the severity of the gunshot wounds to the two individuals.

This is a developing story that will be updated.