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Jan 6, 2013 10:58 PM by Q2 News

Billings Police Chief addresses officer involved shooting

BILLINGS- Billings Police Chief Rich St. John addressed the media Sunday evening regarding the incident on Miles Avenue that ended with a man being shot and killed by a police officer.

St. John said they had two incidents at 807 Miles Avenue today.

One was the burglary and standoff. The other was a suspect being shot and killed by a Billings Police officer after the suspect commandeered a police car and tried to escape.

The burglary of an unoccupied home at 807 Miles Avenue was investigated Sunday morning around 9 a.m. that culminated around 1 p.m. with the Billings Police Department SWAT team taking two people, a male and female, into custody.

Chief St. John said they had a text book outcome to the standoff negotiations. The two suspects, reported to be a husband and wife, surrendered without incident.

The male suspect was then handcuffed and placed into the back seat of a running BPD squad car. St. John said he somehow was able to climb over into the front seat of the car. He also either got out of his handcuffs or was able to get his hands in front of him to take control of the car.

At that time he backed into a tree, clipped officer Dave Punt with the car, and hit two parked vehicles. Officer Punt, a 19-year veteran of the police force, fired on the vehicle and the suspect was hit. Punt was the only officer to discharge his firearm. It is not known yet how many shots were fired or where on his body the suspect was hit.

Officer Punt was taken to the hospital for percautionary and administrative reasons and was then released.

CPR efforts were administered on the suspect who was transported to a local hospital. It is not known if the suspect died at the scene or at the hospital.

St. John said his department will thoroughly investigate all aspects of the incident. Officer Punt will be on paid administrative leave until he is ready to rejoin the force. A coroner's inquest will be held to determine if proper use of deadly force was used.

St. John said his number one concern is the well being of his officer. He said this will be a big investigation for the department. St. John said officers can use deadly force to protect themselves or to protect other people.

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