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Jury finds Billings officers justified in shooting death of suspect in Big Bear standoff

Posted at 1:51 PM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 15:51:01-04

BILLINGS – A coroner’s jury determined Thursday that Billings police officers were justified in the death of a Crow Agency man in November.

The man, Frank Half Jr., was killed after a nearly 10-hour standoff with officers on Nov 4 at Big Bear Sports Center.

Jurors heard three days of testimony from the officers involved, and forensic experts who examined the case. Each officer interviewed said they believed Half would still be alive had he cooperated with officers, but they felt they had no choice but to shoot him.

On Thursday, it was revealed that Half had been shot seven times, and five bullets were found in his body. 

Officers testimony described Half as a non-compliant suspect, who was acting erratically. All officers interviewed had a belief that Half was trying to force a confrontation.

On Nov 4, Half was reportedly kicked out of a WalMart store after attempting to steal firearms. Police said Half then drove his car to the other side of King Avenue, barreling through the front entrance of Big Bear Sports Center around 3 a.m.

Officers on scene could hear gun shots from inside the building.

Law enforcement on scene believed they had a break when Half opened an emergency exit door on the side of the building and showed them his hands.  As officers were preparing for what they thought could be an arrest, Half stuck a gun out the door. Officers fired to force Half back inside the building.

Many officers involved in the shooting said that solidified their belief that Half did not plan on cooperating with them. Sgt. Brandon Wooley said he believed Half was trying to ‘ambush’ them.

Half eventually moved inside, and toward the front of the store behind a tent. Two volleys of gunfire were exchanged, and Half was killed.

No officers were injured in the standoff, but Half did shoot a police vehicle.

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