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Man carrying a gun near elementary school pleads guilty to federal crime

Posted at 10:06 PM, Mar 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-26 15:55:57-04

Gabriel Cowan Metcalf of Billings, accused of brandishing a gun on the sidewalk in front of his residence across from Broadwater Elementary School last summer, pleaded guilty on Monday to one federal firearms charge, according to U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich.

Metcalf, 49 years old, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm in a school zone and faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $100,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

According to charging documents, Metcalf carried a 20-gauge shotgun on the sidewalk across the school, which is public property, several times from August 2, 2023 through August 17, 2023.

He was seen pacing with the weapon in front of his home on the 400 block of Broadwater Avenue, walking onto the property of a nearby business with the gun and holding the gun while staring at the school across the street, according to prosecutors.

On August 17, law enforcement spoke to Metcalf, who admitted to carrying the gun and said he was patrolling the neighborhood, according to prosecutors.

He told MTN News on August 22 that he was carrying the weapon for self-defense following a dispute with a neighbor, and he meant no harm toward anyone at Broadwater Elementary.

"I'm not here to intimidate or frighten," he said at the time.

Gabriel Cowan Metcalf of Billings
Gabriel Cowan Metcalf of Billings

Nevertheless, students at Broadwater were moved out of the playground area facing Metcalf's home during recess at the start of the school year as a precaution.

Billings police said they had received numerous complaints about Metcalf but did not arrest him because police said he had violated no state gun laws.

On August 23, Metcalf was arrested by federal agents and charged with a federal gun crime.

Sentencing is set for August 2 by U.S. District Judge Susan Watters. Metcalf’s release on conditions was continued pending further proceedings, according to Laslovich.