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Billings police: Man killed in police shootout pulled a gun

Name of Box Elder man still withheld pending notification of relatives


Last updated 10/13/2020 at 12:14pm

Box Elder man killed by Billings Police Officers

By: Patrick Johnston

More details have been provided in a Billings police shooting that caused the death of a Box Elder man, including police reporting the Box Elder man pulled a gun on the officers.

Billings Police Chief Rich St. John said during a press conference this morning that officers Ryland Nelson and Justin Bickford of the Billings Police Department shot a 29-year-old Box Elder man, whose name has yet to be released, during a physical altercation around 10:20 last night.

St. John said the decedent was well-known to law enforcement and described him as a probation and parole absconder out of Hill County.

He said the man’s name is being withheld until relatives are notified.

St. John said the officers were dispatched to the 2200 Block of Avenue C last night on a call regarding suspicious activity in the area where they made contact with the decedent and two other suspects.

He said the Box Elder man resisted officers who were attempting to detain him, beginning an altercation that ended with the man on the ground refusing to produce his hands to be cuffed by the officers.

St. John said the man then pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and pointed it at officers, after which Nelson and Bickford fired multiple rounds into the man after warning fellow officers.

He said at this point it is not known for sure if any shots were fired from the semi-automatic handgun, but the initial investigation suggests no shots were fired.

The decedent was taken to a hospital for treatment of his wounds where he died, St. John said.

He said Nelson and Bickford suffered minor injuries in the altercation.

He said the incident will be subject to a thorough investigation that is in its early stages for now.

He said the department is not making a judgment about whether the officers acted within department policy, as the department’s understanding of the incident may change as the investigation continues.

Both officers are on administrative leave as policy dictates, St. John said, and the department will keep the public updated.


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