BILLINGS - Court documents released Monday outline the Billings Police Department's investigation into the Billings house fires that took place Friday, Feb. 26.
The report states that BPD Detective Ryan Kramer took on the case after the Billings Fire Department said the first fire appeared to have been intentionally set. In speaking with the homeowner, Kramer was told that a man was found sleeping in the homeowner's Jeep on-site earlier in the day and that he had kicked him out.
While investigating the first fire, a second fire was reported just two blocks away. Court documents state Detective Kramer reported that several items had been reported as stolen from the property. The house was unoccupied, and the homeowner became aware of the incident after she was contacted by animal control officers, as her pets were inside the residence.
Officer Simpson responded to the second fire and was told by the resident who reported the fire that he saw a man in a tan jacket wearing headphones walking east in the alleyway between 5th Street West and 4th Street West. Documents say officers began searching the area on foot, but were unable to locate anyone. As he was returning to his patrol car, Officer Simpson said he heard yelling from the 300 block of Custer Avenue.
Authorities responded to the area and Officer Simpson said he saw a woman exit her residence with her hands up. Documents claim she directed Simpson to her backyard where he saw a man wearing a tan jacket and pointing a black rifle at Simpson. Simpson drew his service weapon and demanded the suspect drop his weapon, which he eventually did. Documents claim the suspect cooperated and got on the ground with his hands behind his back, telling Officer Simpson to "blow a (hole) in [his] head," and that he had been "robbed by other transients." The suspect's weapon was secured and identified as an "airsoft" gun, not a real firearm.
Documents say as the suspect was detained and transported to the Yellowstone County Detention Facility he refused to identify himself. Later, Officer Simpson was informed the suspect did identify himself as Jackson Herring.
Officer Simpson spoke with the resident where Herring was located who said she confronted Herring after noticing him in her backyard. She said that as she went outside Herring pointed the rifle at her.
After Simpson spoke with the woman, documents say he learned of another burglary in the 500 block of 4th Street West. He responded and spoke to the resident.
The resident told Simpson that a man matching Herring's description had entered his home, pointed an AR style rifle at him, then left the residence.
Documents state Herring was found to be in possession of two lighters and several stolen items from the 5th St. West residence. It is also reported that a grey duffle bag was left behind at one residence. After obtaining a warrant, officers reported that additional stolen property was discovered in the duffle bag.
Jackson Herring is charged with two felony counts of burglary, two felony counts of assault with a weapon and one misdemeanor count of obstructing a peace officer.
Investigations are still ongoing.