BOZEMAN – A woman is dead and a man is behind bars, accused of shooting and killing her Thursday night.
Bozeman City Police say William Bailey shot a woman living with him twice as she was returning to their mobile home after an argument.
According to court documents, Bailey faces up to 100 years or life in prison after investigators say the shooting happened in the Wagon Wheel mobile home park just after 8 pm.
Investigators say a neighbor heard gunshots then witnessed Bailey dropped a towel on a woman laying out on the street.
That neighbor called 911.
Court documents show that Bailey and the victim had an argument after they returned home earlier that day from grocery shopping and Bailey had started drinking.
When she left to visit someone else, Bailey got a handgun from his home. When she returned. he shot her. She died later in the hospital during emergency surgery.
“It’s a testament to those people that do live here and that are watchful neighbors. This incident, we had somebody who heard what they thought was a gunshot and they didn’t hesitate,” said Bozeman Police detective Joseph Swanson.
“They called 911 right away. “People being vigilant, being aware of what’s going on in their neighborhood is certainly what makes this a safe place to live.”
You can also view the original, complete detailing of the court documents by clicking here. Bailey’s bail was set at $1 million and the case is still under investigation.
The situation left many others living in the Wagon Wheel mobile home park with questions and concern.
Police say there was no danger to the rest of the public but the shooting has still left them shocked.
The scene at mobile home No. 26 remains the same as it appeared Thursday night except for one small, yet significant change: flowers set at the spot where the victim once was.
According to the court documents, Bailey threw the victim’s belongings out of the home shortly before she returned.
One man said he heard it all and it left him no choice but to immediately call for help.
“All the years that I’ve lived here, I never really had to endure something like this before,” said Michael Churchill, who lives nearby.
He adds it’s a sound he never hoped to hear so close to home. When he saw a woman lying in the street just a few homes away, he wanted to help.
“I decided to walk up to see if she was okay,” Churchill said. “The gentleman came out and laid a bunch of towels on top of her and then stepped back and that’s when I saw something in his hand and wasn’t sure what it was so I decided to go back and call 911.”
Michael saw them both before but says the violence caught everyone off-guard.
“The fact that we had seen her and him around the park for quite some time and never really known…I’ve never even heard an argument going on in that place,” Churchill said.
“It’s really, really sad to have this happening in our community so often,” said another woman, who did not want to be named.
She said she often walks through the community and the rise of domestic violence across the area has her stunned.
“These are our daughters, our sisters, our wives, our friends, like, people who mean so much to us and we love them,” she said. “It causes scars that just run so deep and they just last a lifetime. It just can’t continue.”
While the investigation continues, both agree: vigilance makes a difference, something Michael will always remember.
“Don’t turn your back,” Churchill said. “You hear it. You hear something, anything, just call somebody and let them decide for if it’s wrong or right.”
Investigators were able to get to the victim while she was still alive and she was transported to Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital where she died during emergency surgery.