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Update: Off-duty Yellowstone County deputy wounded in shooting outside Billings casino

grandstand shooting
Posted at 9:03 AM, Jan 15, 2022

Update 3:15 p.m. Saturday

An off-duty Yellowstone County deputy was grazed in the face by a bullet following an altercation with another man outside the Grandstand Casino in Billings early Saturday morning, Billings Police Chief Rich St. John said at a news conference Saturday afternoon.

That other man later fled police and crashed into a light pole at the 1200 block of Grand Avenue near Albertsons and is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries, St. John said.

The deputy was not seriously injured and is planning to come back to work soon, said Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder, who spoke to him after the incident.

The incident began around 12:45 a.m. when the deputy, an off-duty Billings police officer and another man were "socializing" at the bar, St. John said. The three then went outside in the parking lot to talk.

A silver Chevy Malibu then pulled up next to the three. Words were exchanged, and the driver pulled out a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, St. John said.

The deputy and officer grabbed the gun and tried to disarm the driver, while the third man went through the passenger to try to stop him. The gun went off, and police believe a bullet fragment struck the side of the deputy's face, St. John said. He fell backward.

The Billings police officer and other man kept trying to wrench the gun away from the driver until he drove off. A group of law enforcement officers, who had been inside the bar, came out to help and called 911, St. John said.

The driver returned to the lot just as on-duty Billings police officers arrived, then fled onto Grand Avenue, St. John said.

He drove west on Grand, reaching speeds up to 60 miles per hour, before he tried to turn into Albertsons and struck the light pole, St. John said.

Billings police, the state Division of Criminal Investigations and the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office are investigating the shooting and crash. St. John said the three agencies will decide jointly on what charges to recommend to Yellowstone County prosecutors.

Because no charges have been filed, St. John did not release the names of any officers or civilians involved. He added he will release more information as the investigation continues.

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Update 9:30 p.m. Billings Police Chief Rich St. John will hold a news conference on the shooting at 3 p.m. to provide more details.

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Billings police are investigating a Saturday morning shooting at a Billings West End casino.

A man in his 40s was shot at the Grandstand Sports Bar and Casino and taken to a local hospital, according to a tweet from Billings Police Sgt. Jeffrey Stovall.

Police gave chase to a suspect who fled in a vehicle and crashed in the 1200 block of Grand Avenue, Stovall wrote.

A stretch of Grand Avenue surrounding the shooting, extending west to the Albertsons store, was closed for about four hours for the investigation.

Police are continuing the investigation.