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Teens charged in connection with deadly shooting in Billings

Posted at 10:03 AM, Feb 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-14 12:15:00-05

BILLINGS - Three teens were charged Tuesday in Yellowstone County for their roles in the murder of a 20-year-old man and attempted coverup following a gang-related shooting in April 2023 outside the Berry's Cherries carnival in Billings.

Two of the teens charged in the case are 15-year-old Dominic Tray Roundstone, one of two suspected shooters, and 14-year-old Charles Dean Bearcrane, who was with Roundstone.

Police believe a second person, a 14-year-old boy, also fired shots at the vehicle that night, but no charges were filed against him Tuesday.

Prosecutors have not ruled out charges against others involved in the case.

A third person charged in the case, Dano-Koo Hoaglen, 19, was not present during the shooting but was charged with one felony for tampering with evidence. Prosecutors said in court documents he allegedly helped sell one of two weapons police believe were involved in the shooting.

Roundstone faces four felony charges, including deliberate homicide with weapons and gang enhancements, attempted deliberate homicide with a weapons enhancement, tampering with evidence, and tampering with witnesses. Bearcrane faces two felony counts of deliberate homicide by accountability and tampering with evidence.

Prosecutors said in court documents that the April 29, 2023, shooting of Kian Manuel Banderas was a result of a confrontation between two rival gangs: the Lash Money gang, a sect of California's Lash Money Bloods, and the Parkway gang. The two have a history of retaliatory violence, including shootings and robberies in Billings, according to police.

Roundstone, Bearcrane, and Hoaglen were all allegedly affiliated with the Parkway gang, which had been making threats online toward a 15-year-old Lash Money gang member leading up to the night at the carnival, according to court documents. Surveillance video showed groups of youths in ski masks acting with a "mob mentality," which is why security began shutting down the carnival around 10:30 p.m., according to court documents.

While at the carnival, the 15-year-old Lash Money gang member, identified as RJB, learned that another group was looking to jump him so he left, according to prosecutors. Banderas, along with another teen, picked up RJB several blocks from the carnival before heading back to the event to get another youth, according to court documents.

At this point, a group of youths, including Roundstone, Bearcrane, and the second possible shooter, spotted the vehicle stopped on Second Avenue North near the auto dealer parking lot. The group was cleared by nearby security guards, but not before Roundstone stared inside the vehicle and grabbed something at his waistband, witnesses told police.

Banderas, who had exited the vehicle to get one of his friends, jumped in the vehicle and took the wheel. He drove toward Second Avenue North when he saw the group of youth, who began throwing rocks at the car, according to court documents. He turned left down an alleyway with his three passengers, and that's when witnesses saw someone pull a gun from his waistband and open fire at the car.

Seven shots were fired in the span of five seconds. One teen was struck in the arm, and Banderas suffered a fatal gunshot wound to his neck, according to court documents.

Acting on a tip, police went to Roundstone's home to question him in the early morning hours following the shooting. After obtaining a search warrant, they recovered a .41-caliber non-jacketed live bullet, a cell phone, a ski mask and other items, according to court documents.

Witnesses told Billings police that Bearcrane gave Roundstone a .41 Smith and Wesson revolver before the shooting, which they believe he used to shoot twice into the Banderas' vehicle, according to court documents. Police said they believe the second uncharged shooter fired a .380-caliber Hi Point handgun at the carnival after Roundstone yelled at him to shoot, according to court documents.

Police said both firearms were stolen. After the shooting, the Smith and Wesson exchanged hands multiple times before it was recovered in a storage unit belonging to another person. Prosecutors cited multiple conversations on social media where Roundstone was seeking to get rid of the gun.

The Smith & Wesson was sent to the Montana State Crime Lab, which could not determine whether bullets found at the scene matched the gun, according to court documents.

The .380 Hi Point was recovered by police after officers pulled over a stolen vehicle and found the gun in a backpack owned by an unnamed person. State crime lab tests showed casings found at the scene of the shooting matched the gun, according to court documents.

It was unclear Tuesday night if Roundstone, Bearcrane, or Hoaglen are in custody.