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Billings neighborhood rattled after police find suspect hiding in garage

Alley Garage
Posted at 2:16 PM, Jun 11, 2024

Billings police arrested a man on multiple felony charges early Sunday morning after finding him barricaded inside an innocent family's garage.

According to Lt. Matt Lennick, police first responded to a call at about 7 a.m. Sunday stating that a suspect had burglarized a business located on the 2000 block of Broadwater Avenue and fled the scene.

That suspect, Nicholas Pearson, 25, was chased by police on foot before they found him in a garage located in an alley between Hewitt Drive and Fox Road. Pearson found the garage unlocked and hid inside while police searched the area.

That garage belonged to Hunter Morse, who has no connection to the suspect, but was sprung awake by Billings police at about 8 a.m. Sunday.

"I woke up to 'Billings Police Department, make yourself known,'" Morse said Monday afternoon. "I seriously thought it was a joke. I was so caught off guard by frickin' ARs (guns) pointed at me."

Morse said everything happened fast.

"They like just started searching the whole house, and I was like 'Oh my gosh. What is genuinely going on right now?'" Morse said.

It wasn't just Morse who was jolted awake and confused by the commotion. His neighbor across the alley behind his home, Taylor Collis, said she watched the whole thing unfold on her security camera while she drove to work.

“There was cops loading their guns, putting body armors on, shields on,” Collis said. “It was just crazy watching it live because I was like, ‘We’re in a rental house. I don’t want anything to happen to that.’ Or my kids, for a matter of fact, if it didn’t go peacefully."

As police searched Morse's home, he overheard them saying that the garage behind his house was locked. That piece of evidence is what helped him realize that it was where the suspect must be hidden.

"I've lived here for 22 years, and I don't know if that garage door has ever been locked in my entire life," Morse said. "I told them that he's 100% in there."

Police found Pearson hiding inside and arrested him. He faces possible charges of two counts of burglary, criminal mischief, obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest, according to police.

He was listed on the Yellowstone County jail roster Monday afternoon.

It was a shocking start to their Sunday, in a neighborhood that Collis said is usually peaceful.

“I’ve always read it on the news and everything, but it’s never been like I’m the one witnessing it," Collis said. "There was a definitely a, what’s next to up our security to make sure our kids are okay."

Morse added that after his crazy morning, he was happy everyone involved was okay.

“I’ve never experienced anything like it, but I’m just glad nobody got seriously injured or anything,” Morse said.