Police: Big Bear suspect was killed by police gunfire - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Police: Big Bear suspect was killed by police gunfire

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

UPDATE: Billings Police Lieutenant Neil Lawrence tells us Frank Half, Jr. was killed by a result of being shot by officers and was not a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

He says once the investigation is complete, the County Attorney's office will then schedule a Coroner's Inquest. No other information will be released until the inquest is underway. 


This story has been updated to reflect updated information provided by Billings Police. Initially, police had stated that Frank Half had been released from a pre-release center in Great Falls...  police now say that Half had been released from the Butte Pre-Release Center to Billings Probation and Parole on "Conditional Release Status" on October 25th. 

Police also say that 58 offers were involved in the incident Saturday and confirm that Half was involved in an incident at Wal-Mart. By the time officers had arrived at the retailer at 2:03 AM they learned Half had moved across the street to Big Bear. They arrived on scene there at 2:10 AM. 


Investigators with the Billings Police Department have released the name of the man involved in the standoff with police at the Big Bear Sports Center. 

The shooter is identified as 30-year-old Frank Half Jr. with an address in Crow Reservation. Half was most recently in Butte before traveling to Billings. 

During Monday's press briefing, Police Chief Rich St. John stated that Half did have a criminal past and was recently housed at a pre-release facility. 

Earlier on Saturday, Half was seen trying to steal ammunition at the Wal-Mart on King Avenue. He then drove to the Big Bear Sports Center and smashed the front door causing a standoff situation that lasted over nine hours.

During the press conference, Police Chief Rich St. John identified eight officers including three sergeants who fired their weapons at Half. Those shots were fired over the course of the standoff. All the officers are on administrative leave. Chief St. John says it could be as long as two-weeks before they are able to come back to work.

All eight officers were members of the Billings SWAT team.

Two other officers remain on administrative leave following last months police-involved shooting at the Lazy K-T motel. Those officers could return to work as soon as this week.  

As of Monday morning, police cannot identify a motive in the shooting.

An autopsy will be performed Monday to determine Half's cause of death and whether or not he had anything in his system that may have contributed to Saturday's incident. 

Chief St. John says that Half used three guns during the stand-off. All three weapons appear to be the property of the store. 

Big Bear sustained extensive damage from gunfire, and gas and water pipes being broken. 

It took investigators 31 hours to process the scene.

In addition to the lost manpower, Billings police also had heavy damage to their BEAR armored vehicle and one of the departments two tactical robots.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

KULR-8 is at Billings City Hall where a press conference is scheduled to be held at 9:00 AM to update the media about the investigation into Saturday's police-involved shooting.

You can watch a live stream of the press briefing on the KULR-8 Facebook page.

For our previous coverage of Saturday's standoff and shooting click here.

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