NewsCrime Watch


Officer placed on leave following weekend incident at Billings casino

State authorities to take over investigation
Posted at 3:59 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 19:50:20-05

BILLINGS - A Billings police officer has been placed on administrative leave following a weekend incident at a casino that left a man hospitalized and a deputy injured.

In a press release issued Wednesday afternoon, Billings police Lt. Brandon Wooley provided more information about an incident that happened at about 12:15 a.m. Saturday outside the Grandstand Casino on Grand Avenue.

Police initially reported that an off-duty police officer and an off-duty deputy with the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office became involved in a struggle with a man in a vehicle after he displayed a firearm. The gun fired during the struggle, police said, and a bullet fragment was believed to have struck the deputy in the face.

The driver of the vehicle then fled but crashed in the 1200 block of Grand Avenue and suffered serious injuries. On Wednesday, Wooley identified the driver as a 24-year-old man from Billings who is expected to survive his injuries. The man's name was not released.

Wooley identified the police officer placed on leave as Matt Frank, who has been with the department for nine years. The officer's leave is pending an internal investigation Wooley said, as required by department police following a critical incident.

The injured deputy has not been identified, but the sheriff's office previously said the deputy was not seriously injured.

Wooley said in the Wednesday press release that the incident is being turned over to state investigators with the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations.

"At this time, investigators have yet to confirm if the gun was ever fired during the incident and are still trying to determine all of the circumstances surrounding the disturbance from beginning to end," Wooley said in the press release.

No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed, Wooley said.

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