BILLINGS — Just before midnight Friday, bullets hit the back of a house in the 600 block of South 31st Street in Billings, striking an 11-year-old in the shoulder who was inside sleeping. Four hours later the house was shot up again, that time in the front.
According to a social media post from the Billings Police Department, just before midnight Friday evening, officers were called to a local hospital for a report of an 11-year-old who was shot while asleep inside her home. The girl sustained a gunshot wound to the shoulder.
“As soon as I heard (gunshots) I tried to get up and run to her room. My grandson was already down there and he figured out what was going on. He just took her to the hospital right away,” said Aleta Medicinehorse, the grandmother of the 11-year-old, on Saturday. "She didn’t get hurt too bad, just grazed her shoulder. She’s shaken up. But God protected her, and she got to come home last night."
According to Medicinehorse, the girl was doing okay Saturday morning. Medicinehorse takes care of four of her grandchildren at her Southside home, including the 11-year-old victim.
“We hear gunshots all over, this area is like that," Medicinehorse said. "But I never thought it would happen to us."
After a hectic night at the hospital, terror struck yet again.
Officers responded to the same house at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning after a suspect fired several rounds into the front of the house.
“My grandkids were so scared to go through that again,” Medicinehorse said.
The double drive-by shooting left neighbors feeling worried for the youth living in the area.
“(This is) the second incident I’ve heard about that’s within close proximity that involved minors," said Marguerite Felig, the president of the Southside Task Force, on Saturday. "It is scary to think that our kids would be subjected to that kind of stressful, but not just stressful, life-threatening situation."
Felig is a volunteer with the Southside Task Force and was picking up garbage Saturday morning with another volunteer, Catherine Card, when the pair learned of the double drive-by shooting.
“Law enforcement can’t do everything. We as a community need to have some way to keep the community safe or make it safe. It already has a reputation, it has had for years, that it’s unsafe," Card, the vice president of the task force, told MTN News on Saturday. "So we need to do something. It’s a beautiful place, I choose to live here, and yet I have incidents happening all around my house. I think we have to work together to ensure the safety of our kids."
According to Card, this is a problem happening far too often in Billings.
“Where I live, it’s very busy that way with gunshots and drug investigations and that kind of thing. But we as a community need to come together to make sure our kids are safe,” Card said. "It's really heartbreaking to see another example in our city of a young person being injured or killed."
Heartbreaking—but luckily—the girl is expected to be okay.
The investigation is ongoing. According to the BPD social media post, the suspect of the second shooting was described as a juvenile white male possibly wearing a ballistic vest. They used a firearm with a green laser. No other information was released.
To read MTN's original report, click here.
To learn more about the Southside Task Force, click here.
“I forgive the person. I forgive them and I don’t have a grudge against them," Medicinehorse said. “She’s still shaken up right now and she’s scared. I told her to keep praying."