BILLINGS — BILLINGS - It’s the same story of violence in Billings, just a different block.
Two houses were hit by bullets in drive-by shootings Tuesday night. One on the 2100 block of 10th Avenue North was hit three times and sadly, neighbors aren’t surprised.
“I heard three shots, bam, bam, bam,” said neighborhood resident Peggy House at her home on Wednesday.
It’s a sound that House recognized instantly.
“They weren’t really loud but you could hear them ‘cuz they were right outside the door,” House said.
That house was right across the street from her.
“Your anxiety goes way up. I worry about answering the door at night,” House said.
MTN News spoke with the homeowner, a mother with three children, who declined to be identified. She said all of her kids were in the house, and amazingly, no one was hurt.
It’s a shooting she believes could be gang-related. While she didn’t want to speak on camera, she said her son got into a dispute with another teen several months ago and believes this could be retaliation.
Another neighbor said the shootings also have him concerned.
“I’ve had to camera up and do all kinds of things over here,” said neighbor Mike Bledsoe.
Bledsoe has lived in the neighborhood for 23 years. He’s put up six security cameras around his house since the crime in the area has gotten so bad.
“There’s been police chases through my backyard at 3’ o'clock in the morning. I’ve recovered lost evidence for the police,” Bledsoe said.
“I’ve sort of come to accept what’s going on over here. I live with loaded guns. They’re always ready,” he added.
It’s gotten to the point where Bledsoe now knows the city and county’s law enforcement officers by name.
“They’ve been over here collecting video evidence from me before mainly because we’re, it’s like we’re stranded here, we’re caught in the crossfire,” said Bledsoe.
It’s crossfire that doesn’t seem to cease, especially since Billings police responded to another drive-by shooting a half hour later, just three minutes away on North 20th Street. They believe the two incidents are related.
“Now, I’m closing all my blinds so I can’t see what’s going out there, but they can’t see me in here and I don’t like the fact of having to close the world out,” House said.
“I sunk everything I had into this place, can’t afford to move so I’m going to stand right here and I’m going to fight,” said Bledsoe.