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Helena man charged with shooting two juveniles

Helena man charged with shooting two juveniles
Helena baseball fields shooting
Posted at 5:20 PM, Feb 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-27 20:46:27-05

HELENA — Julien McKnight, accused of attempted homicide following Thursday’s shooting at baseball fields near the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds, appeared via video in court on Monday afternoon.

McKnight, 18 years old, is facing two counts of attempted deliberate homicide and two counts of tampering with evidence.

Last Thursday at about 9:30 p.m., police responded to reports of two juveniles shot at Ryan Park on Helena's west side. Officers reported finding blood and spent casings from a suspected .223 caliber rifle.

Witnesses told police that an argument started between two women earlier and at one point they agreed to meet at the baseball fields to fight.

Helena baseball fields shooting

Court records say at the park one group approached a vehicle allegedly driven by 18-year-old Jonathon Countryman, and reportedly began beating on the vehicle and trying to pull him from the car. Then shots were fired.

Two juveniles sustained life-threatening injuries and were taken to St Peter’s Health.

Police found Countryman about three hours after the shooting. Detectives claim that when questioned, Countryman gave conflicting information before eventually identifying McKnight as the alleged shooter.

In an interview with officers, McKnight alleged said he got an M-14 rifle and fired several rounds from inside the vehicle, but did not know if he hit anyone.

Court documents say another witness who was also in Countryman's car, also identified McKnight as the alleged shooter, and said Countryman and McKnight planned the shooting.

Countryman was charged last week with two counts of attempted deliberate homicide by accountability.