NewsCrime and Courts


Gun-wielding suspect shot by deputy in Yellowstone County

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Ballantine Montana map
Posted at 11:37 AM, Oct 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-09 11:39:08-04

Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder identified the two deputies placed on administrative leave following the shooting of Robert A. Singleton near Ballantine, northeast of Billings.

"The officers are not looking to shoot somebody," Linder said. "In fact they're saying right in the audio, we don't want to do this. Deal with this in court. It's not something that needs to happen here, not this way."

Deputy Brandon Zidack, a five-year veteran, was the officer who fired the shot that killed 66-year-old Singleton, according to Linder. A second deputy, nine-year veteran Joshua Leonhardt, was also on the call serving an arrest warrant but did not fire his weapon.

"Both of them have good records," Linder said. "Good deputies and they do a good job."

The two deputies were at the residence on the 2500 block of South 28th Road east of Ballantine after 11 p.m. on October 4, 2023, to arrest Singleton on a Rosebud County warrant on a felony charge of sexual assault, according to Linder.

Linder also provided the first details of the incident, derived from audio and video recordings from the deputies' dash cams:

Leonhardt and Zidack knocked on the door at 11:23 p.m. and announced who they were. Singleton opened a window and began speaking with them. Zidack, who was on the ground level, saw Singleton holding a handgun and ordered him to drop it and get on the ground.

Leonhardt, who was on a front deck, jumped over the railing for cover.

Singleton came out through the front door with a gun pointed at the sky. Both deputies continued to demand he drop the gun, but he instead moved toward the deputies and fired in their direction.

Zidack fired back and struck Singleton several times.

The deputies provided medical aid until other responders arrived, but Singleton died at the scene.

Linder said the sheriff's office is conducting an internal investigation, and the County Attorney's office will conduct a coroner's inquest to determine whether the killing was justified.


Ballantine Montana map