Posted: Oct 5, 2011 10:28 PM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News
Updated: Oct 6, 2011 10:46 AM
BILLINGS - The prime suspect in a triple homicide investigation has been arrested in Spokane, Washington.
Just over 24 hours after a manhunt began near Lodge Grass, the FBI, BIA, and multi-state law enforcement tracked down and captured Sheldon Chase, 22, near the Spokane Valley Mall.
Chase fled the scene after allegedly shooting three of his relatives near Lodge Grass Tuesday afternoon.
Q2 News was with Senior FBI Agent in Charge Eric Barnhart Wednesday evening when he received the call, confirming Chase was in custody.
"He was arrested by federal, tribal, state, and local agencies," Agent Barnhart states.
Agent Barnhart says a lead developed Wednesday afternoon pointing law enforcement in the direction of the mall. As expected, Chase was seen in a white, Toyota Corolla on a road adjacent to the shopping center. Agent Barnhart says the murder suspect was swarmed by up-wards up 50 agents and officers. Chase was arrested without incident just a few hours after a "wanted" flyer was distributed to area law enforcement in Spokane.
"It's relief that he no longer poses a danger to the public," Agent Barnhart says. "It's always a bittersweet time in that you cannot undo the events of yesterday, but obviously people can rest a lot easier that he's in custody."
With their prime suspect behind bars, investigators can now focus their efforts solely on the triple homicide and the victims who lost their lives.
"This investigation is far from over," Agent Barnhart says. "We still have a lot to do and Mr. Chase will face the criminal justice system and we will be putting that case together going forward."
According to Agent Barnhart, Chase faces charges in the murders of his grandmother, his cousin, and an adult male.
Chase is set to appear in Spokane Federal Court on Thursday, he could be back in Montana as early as next week.
Chase is wanted for questioning in Tuesday's shooting deaths of three people on the Crow Reservation in Montana. Killed were Chase's grandmother, his cousin, and an adult male.
The agency wants to thank the public for calling in tips and information regarding the ongoing investigation.
5:45 p.m. Update
BILLINGS - FBI officials have confirmed that triple homicide suspect Sheldon Chase has been captured in Spokane, Washington. FBI spokesman Eric Barnhart told Q2 News Chase was taken into custory without incident this afternoon. Chase is being transported back to Montana. Chase is the prime suspect in Tuesdays triple homicide outside of Lodge Grass. Stay with us for updates!
BILLINGS- The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released the names of the victims of the three people killed yesterday in a shooting southwest of Lodge Grass.
The FBI has named 22-year-old Sheldon Chase the suspect in the killing of his 80-year-old grandmother, Gloria Cummins, Chase's 21-year-old cousin Levon Driftwood and 20-year-old Rueben Jefferson.
The FBI believes the shootings happened around 12 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
Additionally, a Wednesday morning press release says the victims were shot with a rifle and died on scene.
The property on which the victims were killed belonged to Cummins.
As of 11:50 a.m., Chase's whereabouts remain unknown, but federal agents believe they now know the vehicle Chase may be using.
The car authorities are looking for now is a 2001 white Toyota Corolla with the North Dakota license plate JLZ-719.
Authorities are urging you to contact them with any information or tips about Chase.
However, the public is reminded that Chase "is considered armed and extremely dangerous and may have a weapon."
The public should not approach him, but instead call 911.
Several friends and family members of the victims have been leaving comments on Facebook.
One woman commented on one of Jefferson's profile pictures, "You will 4ever be missed", and another wrote, "R.I.P. Ruben Jefferson and Lavon Driftwood."
According to their profile pages on Facebook, Jefferson and Driftwood were married.
Sheldon Chase's Facebook profile reveals information about his life before the shootings.
Chase claims to be from Mandaree, North Dakota and says he graduated from Killdeer High School in 2008.
Chase also claims he currently resides in Lodge Grass and attended or was attending Big Horn College in Crow Agency where he says he studied Business Administration.
Chase is friends on the social networking site with both Jefferson and Driftwood.
On his profile page, Chase describes himself as being laid back and mellow.
FBI Releases names of victims in triple murder investigation; search for suspect continues
The FBI Salt Lake City Division is releasing the names of the victims who were fatally shot yesterday on the Crow Reservation in Montana. Two of the victims were relatives of the individual who is now being sought for questioning. The FBI, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Big Horn County Sheriff's Office, along with multiple law enforcement agencies continue to search for 22-year old Sheldon Bernard Chase, who allegedly shot all three victims using a rifle. The shootings occurred at approximately noon on October 4, 2011 at a residence outside the community of Lodge Grass, Montana. Chase's grandmother, 80-year old Gloria Sarah Goes Ahead Cummins, his cousin, 21-year old Levon F. Driftwood, and another individual who was in the home at the time, 20-year old Rueben Charles Jefferson, died at the scene.
Originally the FBI released three possible vehicles the suspect may be driving. Upon further investigation, it is believed Chase may be driving a white Toyota Corolla with North Dakota plates. The license number is JLZ-719 (VIN 2T1BR12E51C818554). His direction of travel is still unknown. Law enforcement agencies in surrounding states have been notified that Chase is wanted for questioning in connection with the shootings. The FBI continues to encourage the public to call with tips, however it should be noted the suspect is considered armed and extremely dangerous and may have a weapon. The public should not approach him, If you see him call 911.
LODGE GRASS - The FBI has confirmed that it is investigating a shooting incident outside of Lodge Grass, involving three victims.
Debbie Dujanovic, public affairs specialist with the FBI in Salt Lake City, says FBI agents are just arriving on the scene and are currently looking for a suspect.
The crime scene is apparently about 10 miles southwest of Lodge Grass.
Lodge Grass public schools and the U.S. Health Clinic in Lodge Grass are under lockdown at this hour, according to employees inside both facilities.
Big Horn County News is reporting that according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the suspect was last seen in a white four-door Toyota Corolla. Currently the BIA, MHP and BHCSO are all responding.
Q2 News has been told that the Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency and Hardin schools are also under a lockdown situation.
One employee with the Crow Tribal Legislature in Hardin, tells Q2 that his office has also been closed down for the day.
Q2 News has a crew headed to the area. More information as soon as it becomes available.