NewsMontana and Regional News


Family of Billings boy shot dead believe it was no accident

Posted at 1:22 PM, Apr 08, 2024

BILLINGS — Andy Paul Beartusk Martinez, a 12-year-old Billings boy who was reported missing, died of an accidental gunshot in the bedroom of a 15-year-old friend, according to documents from prosecutors.

The family said, however, they have reason to believe the incident was not an accident.

“How’s it going to be an accident if you’re going to go and hide the body after you shoot somebody," said Richard Martinez, Andy's father.

Andy's body was found March 15 in a shed on the property of a residence on Terry Avenue after a search and investigation by law enforcement.

His family maintains that more should have been done to find his body sooner.

“They had seized two guns," said April Beartusk, Andy's aunt, "A little bit more further, then they would have discovered him right then and there, not three weeks later.”

MTN News has contacted police about this claim and are awaiting a reply.

In charging documents filed Thursday and released to MTN News on Friday, prosecutors said Andy was inside a bedroom with three other teens when a gun being handled by a 15-year-old discharged and fatally struck Andy.

“My son was on this Earth for 12 years, and these guys are only getting three to five just because they said it was an accident," said Richard.

Andy Paul Bear Tusk Martinez
Andy Paul Bear Tusk Martinez

Police announced the arrest of the 15-year-old boy on Thursday, and the court documents filed in Yellowstone County Youth Court reveal the events prosecutors said led to the death of Andy and the effort to conceal the crime.

The family refutes the claim that this incident was an accident, stating they believe Andy and those charged had a dispute over a teenage girl.

“They were jealous of him, of something – and it was this girl," said April.

The 15-year-old boy accused of causing the death of Andy has been charged as a youth with negligent homicide and two counts of felony tampering with evidence. A 13-year-old boy who was present in the room at the time of the shooting has also been charged as a youth with two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of obstructing a peace officer. Both teens are being held in a Billings youth detention facility.

“Andy was our baby. Andy was – he was our baby forreal. Like, he was the little – the little glue that like, the reason that we all stick together, stuck together," said Kyesha Beartusk, Andy's sister.

MTN News is not naming the two teens because of their age and the nature of the alleged offenses.