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Sheriff IDs deputy who killed woman in Billings following standoff

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Posted at 4:04 PM, Mar 27, 2023

BILLINGS - The Yellowstone County sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a woman this weekend following a two-hour standoff has been identified as Christopher Etter, a five-year veteran of the force, Sheriff Mike Linder said Monday.

Etter was placed on paid administrative leave following the Saturday incident, which is standard procedure following any officer-involved shooting. The state Division of Criminal Investigation will investigate.

Etter is a three-year member of the Yellowstone County Tactical Response Team, which responded to the incident, and he had previous law enforcement experience before coming to Yellowstone County.

The incident began around 4 p.m. Saturday, when police received a call of an armed vehicle theft on the 4600 block of Western Sky Drive.

Law enforcement found the vehicle on King Avenue West and gave pursuit, chasing the driver through downtown and the Heights. She at one point struck two other vehicles, damaging the vehicle, before it came to rest at the 900 block of Sixth Avenue North.

The driver, identified by family members as Vilene Not Afraid, did not cooperate for two hours, according to police. She exited the vehicle after police fired a gas canister inside, and officers said she pointed a gun at law enforcement before Etter fired at her.

Not Afraid was taken to a hospital, where she later died.