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Montana man wielded rifle before being shot; family calls for justice

Family of Clayburn Grant
Hays Montana
Posted at 12:43 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 14:43:36-04

HAYS — We’re learning more about the shooting death of a man by a police officer on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.

Clayburn Grant was shot near his home in Hays in the early morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 23.

According to Fort Belknap officials, the shooting was the culmination of a chase, after an officer tried to pull over a vehicle but the vehicle didn't immediately stop.

When the vehicle finally did stop, the statement says, the person in it — Clayburn — was "reported to have been uncooperative and exhibited a weapon."

Clayburn’s sister Carla admits that her brother had an unloaded hunting rifle in his hands when he got out of his truck, but doesn't believe the Fort Belknap police officer should have shot him.

"He didn't point it at him or anything,” said Carla.

Fort Belknap statement on shooting of Clayburn Grant

Video posted to social media shows Grant laying on the ground next to a truck outside his house with his hands cuffed behind his back. In the video, Carla can be heard yelling "he killed him!"

"They didn't even give him a chance,” Carla said adding her brother never had time to surrender. She said he was shot four times as soon as he stepped out of his truck.

"He didn't say anything to him. He didn't say 'drop your weapon,' he didn't call for backup, he didn't wait for anybody. Plopped him on his stomach and handcuffed him like he was going to get up and do something. My brother was gasping for air,” Carla explained.

Clayburn’s family is now calling for justice.

Carla said her brother had a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest and claims that police were waiting for him in some weeds near his house. When they saw him leave the house, she said, a chase ensued.

"He stopped one last time and sent his last text to me, saying 'I love you guys. Goodbye.' He then took off up to the Mission where the cops followed him and me and his daughter were shortly behind them. We followed them back over here and that's when he shot my brother,” Carla recalled.

Clayburn leaves behind a pregnant girlfriend, four children, and his unfinished house.

While the shooting is still being investigated, Carla had already decided what she believes should happen to the officer who shot her brother. "I want him to be put behind bars.”

Clayburn Grant

Clayburn's uncle Bruce Grant doesn’t believe the police department was solely to blame, and added, "our council that's supposed to protect their people, us, with their law enforcement and didn't do it. They're not standing behind their own people."

Carla said, "He was one of the best people you could have around. He always made the room bright with his smile. He was the best dad to these kids. He was their hero. He was the best uncle to his nieces and nephews, the best brother and mother-father figure I could ever have.”

Fort Belknap officials said that because the FBI is involved in the investigation, they are limited in what information can be released to the public. The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs is also assisting the FBI in the investigation.