Coroner's inquest for Ryan Lowell reveals justifiable homicide - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Coroner's inquest for Ryan Lowell reveals justifiable homicide

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Four officers were in court for a coroners inquest following a fatal police involved shooting on May 12th last year.

The four Billings officers in this shooting were  Officer Philip Tanis, who has been with Billings police department for two years, Officer Michael Freeman, who has been with the police department for a year and a half,19-year-veteran Sgt. Clyde Reid and 20-year veteran Officer Steve Swanson.

The man at the center of the stand off was 30-year old Ryan Lowell.

Police were dispatched to highway 3 along the rims near the airport that day, following a 9-1-1 call from a woman.

She informed operators that her boyfriend, Ryan Lowell was on the Rims and was suicidal.

Police negotiators tried for an extended period of time to get Lowell to drop his weapon, but ultimately the stand off ended after Lowell fired at officers... four officers on the scene responded with deadly force.

A coroner's inquest is when a group of citizens is assembled to review the information to determine if the officers acted appropriately.

It took the jury less than 30 minutes to agree on the verdict of justifiable homicide. 

The coroner's inquest for Ryan Lowell began at 9 am this morning.

A total of 9 witnesses were called to the stand which includes the four officers in the shooting, the police chief, and a forensic pathologist.  

 All four of the officers who were called believed in this case, they did the best they could to deescalate the situation, but unfortunately had no choice but to fire when Lowell fired at them first. 

Forensic pathologist Dr. Robert Kurdistan revealed Lowell to have a blood alcohol level of 4 times the legal limit     

During his toxicology report and says an alcohol content that high impairs judgment and can result in erratic behavior.

The police department goes through several procedures which includes a criminal investigation, as well as an administrative investigation.

In this particular case, the police are not suspects in this shooting and the police department makes sure to provide confidential counseling, support and stress management in officer involved shootings.

The police department also offers and requires psychiatric evaluations to ensure police officers are competent to return to work.

Chief Rich St. John said this situation was handled professionally and said no policies were violated in this case.

He said while officer involved shootings are never easy, the police department is mindful of the aftermath of what happens to the officers, the victim, and the victims family, reassuring officers only use deadly force when they feel they have no other option such as in this case.

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