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Machete-wielding man shot by officer in Billings

Machete-wielding man shot by officer in Billings
Posted at 2:42 PM, Apr 30, 2024

(UPDATE, 5:55 pm) Witness video obtained by MTN News from the upper floors of the First Interstate Tower captured the moment a man was shot on the sidewalk below by a Billings police officer.

The man, who was wielding a machete, was standing on the sidewalk across the street from the bank, quickly looking back and forth at the officers surrounded him in the street.

He is then shown falling to the ground after an officer fires a Taser and strikes him. Seven Billings police officers then run toward the man as he lies on the ground.

The man is seen writhing on the ground after he was Tased, and the officers continued to approach him. The video then appears to show one officer shoot him five times at close range while the man is still on the ground. A witness told MTN News she believed he was reaching for his machete, but the video is unclear.

This all happens in 10 seconds.

“They attempted to negotiate with that male. There was no progress… They attempted less lethal, it sounds like, in the form of a Taser, which was not effective,” Billings Police Lt. Matt Lennick said at the scene. “At some point during their altercation with him and trying to take him into custody, one officer fired one of their service weapons and struck the subject.”

Bayley Vulgamore and Kym Van Pelt saw the situation from their office in the First Interstate Tower.

“Outside my window, I heard yelling and screaming,” Vulgamore said. “They (officers) went to go get him (after he was Tased) and you can just kind of see him roll to his side, and when he did that it looked like he went to go grab it (the machete) and then that’s when they shot him.”

Police have not yet released the man's identity, and a news conference is scheduled for Wednesday.

“I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed anything like that and a little kind of like shocking and shaky feeling,” Van Pelt said.

MTN News is not showing the full witness video of the shooting due to its graphic nature. The video is stopped before the gunshots are fired.

(1st REPORT) A Billings police officer shot a man who was wielding a machete in Billings on Tuesday, April 30, 2024.

It happened on the 300 block of North 31st Street, according to Billings Police Lt. Matt Lennick.

The man was said to be waving the machete at people in the area.

Police responded to the call about the man at around 1 p.m. and attempted to negotiate with him, Lennick said.

Lennick said the suspect did not cooperate or drop his weapon, so an officer tried to subdue him with a Taser, which didn't work.

One officer then fired his gun, and the man "went down," according to Lennick.

The suspect was then taken to a hospital, where he was formally declared deceased.

No officers were injured.

No other details have been released at this point, including the name of the man who died.

We will update you when we get more information.