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Woman sentenced to prison for shooting inside Billings hospital emergency room

Posted at 9:55 AM, May 30, 2024

BILLINGS - A woman who shot herself and then was shot by a police officer inside a Billings hospital emergency room has been sentenced to prison.

Panda Emily Aradia, 38, has been ordered to serve a total of 20 years, with five years suspended, following her conviction at trial on felony charges of criminal endangerment and assault with a weapon.

The charges were filed following a shooting incident at the Billings Clinic Emergency Department on Oct. 16, 2022. During the incident, shots were fired by Aradia and a police officer after Aradia brought a handgun into the hospital and threatened to harm herself and others.

During a sentencing hearing in Yellowstone County District Court on Tuesday, Aradia also was ordered to serve a concurrent five-year suspended sentence after previously pleading no contest to felony stalking in another criminal case. Aradia was accused in that case of violating a protection order issued against her based on her behavior toward a younger person who had spurned her romantic advances, according to court records.

Judge Jessica Fehr imposed the sentence and included a recommendation that Aradia serve the prison term at the Montana Women's Prison. Aradia's defense attorney had argued for a lesser sentence with no prison incarceration based on Aradia's status as transgender.

Panda Emily Aradia

A prosecutor argued at sentencing that Aradia deserved to serve a prison sentence because the shooting took place inside a hospital.

According to court records, Aradia was able to bring a concealed handgun into the hospital emergency area at about 5 p.m. and checked in seeking help for suicidal ideations.

Aradia was placed in a triage room. A nurse came in the room and started an intake assessment, part of which included asking Aradia if she'd formed a plan to commit suicide.

Prosecutors said Aradia responded to the question by pulling out the handgun and pointing it at the nurse "for several seconds." She then turned the weapon on herself and told the nurse they had three minutes to get help or Aradia would shoot.

The nurse "tried to de-escalate but ultimately left the room and notified staff of the situation."

Hospital security officers responded and went to speak with Aradia, who was still holding the gun on herself when officers entered the room. Aradia "told security they only had a few minutes to get help or she would start shooting," court records state.

A short time later a team of Billings police officers arrived and as they approached the room where Aradia was placed they heard a gunshot, court records state.

When officers entered the room they found Aradia on the floor with a pistol nearby. An officer shot Aradia once when she reached for the pistol and pulled it toward her.

It was later determined that Aradia had shot herself in the lower abdomen "causing non-life-threatening injury." The bullet went through the wall into the adjacent room where a patient had been removed moments earlier.

Investigators said more than 80 people were inside the hospital emergency area during the shootings.

"A hospital is intended to be a place of safety and healing," Deputy County Attorney Benjamin Lanford wrote in court records ahead of the sentencing hearing. "The Defendant defiled that perception for this community."


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