Shootings: What’s Happening in Yellowstone County, Montana?
What is happening with all of these shootings in Billings and in Yellowstone County, Montana? Yet another round of shootings over the weekend in the Billings area, including a shootout with a Yellowstone County Sheriff's Deputy. We asked Sheriff Mike Linder.
Aaron Flint: When people generally ask you from other parts of Montana- what is going on in Billings, what is going on in Yellowstone County with what seems like shootings every week- what do you tell them?
Sheriff Mike Linder: I'm not too sure I have a good answer for them, but this is not what we normally see in our in our community....you'll recall last year at the Fair we had a shooting down there and again that was juveniles involved in that. And that seemed to be kind of the catalyst for some of the stuff that's going on.
A little over a month ago Billings Police Chief Rich St. John also pointed to the shooting at the fair in Billings back in 2022 that led to a series of gang-related retaliatory strikes. Here's what he told us back on September 26th.
Chief St. John: Unfortunately, we had a couple of drive-by's and what not. But the level of violence that we saw, which really started with the Metra shooting last year, and then we had the perpetrator violence cycle taking place, has really been tamped down. And so that reflected in some of our numbers. We're just one bad weekend away from being off the charts again.
In addition to expanding the capacity of the Yellowstone County Detention Facility (the jail), Sheriff Linder says given the rise in youth violence the city and county will need to look at how we treat youth offenders as well.
Sheriff Linder: We don't put juveniles in our jail. That's youth services takes them. And so that's something that we got to be thinking about, too. If this is going to become a problem maybe we need to be looking at the whole picture.
Full audio of our Monday morning phone call with Sheriff Linder starts about halfway through the below podcast audio:
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