A Rocky Boy man will spend five years in custody followed by seven on probation for shooting repeatedly at a pickup in Box Elder with two adults and a 3-year old child inside the vehicle.
The judge said he hoped five years in treatment could help Henderson deal with an escalating pattern of violence.
Garrison Henderson, born in 1993, had pleaded guilty in a plea agreement to three charges including a felony count of assault with a weapon. That charge was reduced from the original charge of attempted murder.
In state District Court in Havre this week, Judge Daniel Boucher sentenced Henderson to 12 years with the state Department of Corrections on the assault charge, with seven suspended.
Boucher imposed a 10-year sentence with the DOC with five suspended on a felony count of criminal endangerment, and a 90-day sentence and $300 fine for a misdemeanor count of reckless driving, with credit for time served both on the sentence and the fine.
He ordered the sentences to run at the same time and credited Henderson with 221 days served.
As part of the plea agreement, the prosecution dropped additional felony counts of assault with a weapon and criminal endangerment.
Henderson was charged after an incident where the driver of the pickup narrowly escaped a serious, potentially fatal injury.
Law enforcement officers from the Hill County Sheriff’s Office and Rocky Boy Police Department responded Nov. 26 to a report of a shootout outside of Jitterbugs in Box Elder. A witness reported that the shooter had driven from the scene, crashing into several cars en route before going off the road, leaving his pickup and running away across a field, hiding something in a tree as did so.
Henderson told a sheriff’s deputy who found him hiding in tall grass in the field across which he ran that a man had pulled an assault rifle on him.
The driver of the pickup told the deputy that he had arrived at the store and Henderson, who appeared drunk, was parked at the gas pump. Henderson started yelling at him and waving his hands around, the driver said.
Henderson grabbed a rifle out of his vehicle when the man got out of his truck. The victim got back into his own truck, and then Henderson approached and first pointed the rifle at the driver through the side window, then struck the truck’s windshield with the stock of the rifle, breaking the rifle stock, then returned to his own pickup.
When he got to his vehicle, Henderson turned and fired six to eight rounds at the victim’s truck with the driver, his girlfriend and his 3-year-old daughter inside.
Henderson then fled the scene, hiding in the field where the deputy sheriff found him.
Deputies investigating the scene found a bullet hole in the windshield of the pickup, indicating a bullet went through the cab just above where the driver’s head would have been.
According to court documents, after imposing the sentence, Boucher said it would be inappropriate to allow Henderson to return to the community where the shootings occurred without any assurance he has dealt with issues that have led to increasing amounts of violence over the past few years.
Incarceration and access to treatment programs provided through DOC provides the best opportunity for self-improvement, Boucher said.