BILLINGS, Mt - A Yellowstone County Sheriff's Deputy is on administrative leave after he fired his weapon while attempting to recover a stolen vehicle at a gas station on the west end Monday afternoon.
Monday afternoon half of the gas station was sectioned off with crime tape. One woman who witnessed the incident from her car at pump number. She says she saw officers attempt to box the stolen car in but the suspect managed to drive off and she says she saw an officer fire his weapon at the car.
Lieutenant Brandon Wooley with Billings Police says officers with the BPD Street Crimes Unit were following a stolen vehicle that stopped at the Town Pump at King Avenue West and 32nd St.
Sheriff Mike Linder says Yellowstone County Sheriff's Deputy Brandon Smart responded to the Town Pump to help officers at the scene who were attempting to recover the vehicle and apprehend the suspects.
Linder says the driver of the stolen car rammed a police car during the incident, then drove towards and made contact with Deputy Smart, who was outside of his vehicle. The Sheriff says Deputy Smart then fired his weapon at the stolen car, striking the driver of the stolen vehicle.
The witness we spoke with says the direction that Deputy Smart fired his weapon was towards the gas station. Lieutenant Wooley says BPD officers did not fire their weapons.
Lieutenant Wooley then says the stolen vehicle fled the area eastbound on King West with an officer in pursuit. The officer lost sight of the stolen vehicle but BPD units located the stolen vehicle a short time later in the area of Laurel road and pursued the vehicle to the area of Amend Park where the stolen vehicle crashed into a ditch.
Wooley says the 32-year-old driver of the stolen vehicle fled on foot to the area of a Taco Bell nearby where he attempted to steal an occupied truck. BPD officers were able to take the suspect into custody without further incident.
The 32-year-old suspect was transported to a local hospital for injuries sustained including at least one gunshot wound. A passenger in the stolen vehicle was a 23-year-old female from Billings who was also transported to a hospital for treatment of injuries. It is unknown whether her injuries are related to gunfire, the car crash or both.
Sheriff Linder says Deputy Smart will remain on leave pending the results of an investigation. BPD is leading the investigation with assistance from the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office.