Feb 11, 2013 12:41 PM by MTN News - Billings

Man dies after being shot by police officer in Billings

BILLINGS - A man has died from an abdominal gunshot wound received during an early morning encounter with Billings police.

At 1:25 a.m., Billings police were in a residential area near Custer Avenue and Division Street looking for a wanted male suspect that had fled from them, Captain R.D. Harper told reporters at a Monday morning press conference.

During the search, police noticed a suspicious car parked outside 23 Custer Avenue; there were two female passengers and one male passenger. Another man, whom police thought to be the driver, was standing between the car and the house.

Officer Grant Morrison, a three-year veteran, approached the car to identify the occupants to see if the suspect was among them. The suspect he was looking for was not present at the time.

Captin Harper said, "Officer Morrison approached the vehicle, and the male passenger began to get out of the right rear door. The male was non-compliant, and refused to follow Officer Morrison's instructions."

Harper said Officer Morrison deployed his Taser, but it was ineffective.

"Officer Morrison then saw that the suspect possessed a black handgun, and appeared to be reaching for it," Harper continued.

At that point, Officer Morrison drew his sidearm and fired one round into the man's abdomen. Police performed first-aid until the ambulance arrived.

He was then taken to St. Vincent Healthcare, where he was later pronounced dead. An autopsy is expected to be performed Monday or Tuesday.

Following standard procedure, Officer Morrison has been placed on paid leave while the investigation continues.

"It's a two-prong investigation," Harper said. "You've got the criminal investigation that goes on, and then the administrative investigation as well ... We'll all talk about it and if mistakes were made, or if we can do things better, we try to do that."

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