NewsCrime Watch


Billings police to increase patrol officers at MontanaFair

montanafair generic.jpg
Posted at 3:45 PM, Aug 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-02 09:43:33-04

BILLINGS - Expect to see more law enforcement at this month's MontanaFair in Billings, one year after a shooting terrified fair goers on a Monday night.

Billings police announced Tuesday they will supply additional patrol officers to assist the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office in working the event, which runs from Aug. 11 to Aug. 19.

Those Billings officers will be brought in outside their regular duties and will not affect the number of officers assigned to normal patrol zones in the city, according to a news release from Billings Police Lt. Matt Lennick.

Last year, on Aug. 15, a male in his teens or early 20s was shot in the leg in the Midway area of the fair at MetraPark. Although police believe the injured man and the shooter knew each other, the shots created a chaotic scene at the fair, and many attendees ran in fear.

The Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office has not announced any arrests in connection with that incident. Sheriff Mike Linder said Tuesday that his office has completed its investigation and forwarded findings to Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito's office.

In his news release, Lennick also cited another recent shooting in the area as justification for increased patrol. In May, a 20-year-old Billings man, Kian Manuel Banderas, was shot in the neck and later died outside the Berry's Cherries used car lot carnival. Witnesses said a large group of juveniles, some wearing masks, chased Banderas out to his car.

No arrests have been made in connection with that shooting. The case has required interviews of hundreds of hours of interviews, search warrants and other work, and Billings police are continuing to investigate

Lennick urged anyone who sees illegal or suspicious behavior at this year's fair to call dispatch at (406) 657-8200 or flag down a deputy or officer at the fair and report it.