BOZEMAN — Matthew Noorlander of Belgrade is accused of shooting a handgun at an employee of a smoke shop near MSU after an attempted theft on Sunday.
Noorlander, 21 years old, charged with felony robbery and felony criminal endangerment, along with probation violation, appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court on Monday.
According to charging documents, on Sunday at about 5:44 p.m. Bozeman Police Officers responded to a 911 call from Mellow Mood Pipe and Tobacco on Tai Lane in Bozeman near MSU.
Witnesses said that Noorlander came into the business and took a “water pipe” valued at approximately $400, and a pack of Juul pods and then ran away without paying for the items.
An employee reportedly chased Noorlander and was able to stop him by pushing him from the rear as he ran, knocking him to the ground.
Noorlander started to get up and drew a handgun and pointed it at the employee. The employee told investigators that Noorlander pointed a black handgun at him, then he “pointed it a little further to the left and shot” the gun. Noorlander then allegedly asked the employee if he “wanted more” before leaving the area.
When officers arrived at the scene they located a silver 9mm casing near the business.
Shortly before 6 p.m. MSU Police radioed that a person matching Noorlander’s description had run from him near the MSU duck ponds. A short time later, a person matching the description was seen near Colombo’s Pizza and a chase ensued. Noorlander eventually stopped and got on his knees and was arrested.
Noorlander refused to speak to an officer without an attorney present.
Investigators and officers viewed surveillance video photos from the business and identified Noorlander as the person who ran from officers.
During Monday’s court appearance, investigators said Noorlander fired a handgun in the direction of MSU campus dorms, but detectives say the bullet must have landed in the middle of a crowded soccer field.
Bozeman City Police found the gun at around 10:30 a.m. on Monday. They have yet to locate the bullet, but found a shell nearby matching the gun.
Noorlander could face up to $50,000 in fines and up to 40 years in prison for robbery. He could also face up to an additional 10 years in prison and up to $50,000 for criminal endangerment.
For parole violation, Noorlander’s bail was set at $500,000. For the two felonies, his bail was set at $100,000 to run consecutively with the first bail.
He cannot be within 1,500 feet of the victim or Mellow Mood.
Noorlander’s preliminary hearing has been set for October 4.
According to the Montana Department of Corrections, Noorlander has two felony convictions in Gallatin County for burglary.