BILLINGS- Two violent crimes in Billings in the last two weeks, one a homicide, and still no arrests from the Billings Police Department.
Lt. Brandon Wooley updated Q2 News Tuesday on the status on the investigation into a Sunday shooting where a man was injured, and a deadly stabbing at the downtown Hardee’s last month.
“In these circumstances, they aren’t random acts of violence,” said Wooley.
Wooley said the department has identified all parties involved in both cases.
On Sunday, Billings police officers responded to a report of a gunshot in the area of First Street West and Custer Avenue. An adult male victim was found lying in the street with a single gunshot wound and taken to a local hospital.
Roughly two weeks before that on Aug. 29, Billings police launched a homicide investigation following the stabbing death of a man. Louis Lee Oldbear, 31, was pronounced dead at a Billings hospital.
“There’s always more to the picture to talk about,” he said. “It can be self-defense claims, to illegal activity by all parties, the cooperation of victims and witnesses and corroboration with video accounts.”
Wooley said the department has the tough role of weighing the public’s safety with protecting a person’s right to due process.
“We can’t compromise that investigation or the details besides just offering our assurances that we don’t think that the public, in general, is in danger,” said Wooley.
He added that he doesn’t believe these two most recent violent crimes are connected to a larger pattern, though he notes violent crime rates in Billings are rising.
“It comes and goes in waves. Me knowing the circumstances behind these, I don’t see a pattern going on,” he said. “That being said obviously our violent crime is on the rise and our drug problem keeps continuing to get worse.”
As for when a charge could come in the Hardee’s homicide, Wooley wouldn’t comment on a timeline. Instead, he said both investigations will continue.
He said in every case, the county attorney’s office will ultimately determine charges.
“It will go to the county attorney’s office for a request for charges. The county attorney can also say no charges will be filed,” said Wooley.
Once that happens, he said he can be more forthcoming with the public about the specifics of the investigation.