BILLINGS - Billings police on Tuesday were still seeking one person they believe was involved in a deadly shooting on Sunday on Billings South Side, and no arrests have been made.
Lt. Matthew Lennick said in a news release that police believe the incident began when one person saw three other people approach a fifth individual, and a "disturbance" ensued on Second Avenue South around 11:20 p.m. Sunday.
The witness saw one of the group fire a gun, so the witness grabbed his or her own gun and approached the group, believing an "active assault" was taking place, according to Lennick. Shots were fired, and two people in the approaching group were struck. One died, and the other suffered undisclosed injuries.
The third member of the group fled and has not been found. All others have been found, and both guns recovered, Lennick wrote.
Family members told MTN News at the scene Monday that the deceased was 26-year-old Randall James Jr. Police have not identified anyone involved in the shooting.
In the Tuesday news release, sent roughly 40 hours after the initial report, it was unclear which individual fired the bullets that struck James and the other person. Police also did not say which member of the group was carrying the gun seen by the witness.
While no arrests have been made, police said Monday they don't believe the public is in danger.
Police first discovered James' body around 11:19 p.m. at the 4000 block of Second Avenue South. Officers found the wounded person at the 100 block of Hallowell Lane about a block away across State Avenue.
Lennick noted that the large crime scene spanning multiple blocks required multiple officers to process, and detectives remained on the scene for 17 hours. All this contributed to a delay in releasing more detailed information, according to Lennick, outside of a post on the department's Twitter account, which provided basic information roughly three hours after the incident.
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Read the full release below:
This release is regarding information for C&O 22-82968 a homicide investigation from November 27, 2022 in the 4000 block of 2nd Avenue South.
On November 27nd, at 11:19 PM, Billings Police Department patrol was dispatched to the 4000 block for a shooting. Officers arrived in the area and located a deceased male (26 year old, local), and multiple witnesses/involved parties. A search of the area led Officers to another address in the 100 block of Hallowell, where a subject suffering from a gun-shot wound was located. Medical care was provided by responding Officers and by medical responders.
At this time the initial investigation indicates that a subject who was in the area of 2nd Avenue South witnessed a group of three individuals approach another subject in this area and a disturbance took place. During the disturbance one of the subjects produced a firearm and discharged the firearm. The first subject retrieved a firearm believing an active assault was taking place. The first subject made contact with the group and shots were fired, striking the decedent and another party. The third subject fled the area and has not yet been located. All other parties have been located and both firearms have been recovered. At this time no arrests have been made, and detectives will continue to investigate the incident.
This was a large scene that spanned from 2nd Avenue South over to Hallowell that required a large number of Officers to respond and process, and was evolving over the first couple hours of the investigation. Detectives were on scene for seventeen (17) hours completing the scene investigations. The need to provide accurate information to the public caused a delay in the information that could be released in this case, but it is important to be factual for the integrity of the case, as well as out of respect for the individuals involved or affected. We commend the Officers on the initial scene as well as the detectives that will continue to work on this incident.