BILLINGS- U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said Friday that federal attorneys would not prosecute a federal officer who shot and killed a knife-wielding man in Lodge Grass nearly about 10 months ago.
Ruben Stewart, 36, was shot five or six times by a Bureau of Indian Affairs office after he ignored orders to drop his hunting knife outside a Lodge Grass home on April 15, 2018. Stewart’s grandmother had called authorities to remove him because he was drunk.
Alme said in a statement prosecutors felt they could not prove a crime was committed by the officer, who has not been identified.
“After a thorough investigation by the FBI into the shooting of Ruben Stewart, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has declined to prosecute the case,” Alme said. “The shooting occurred when the BIA officer responded to a disturbance call and encountered Mr. Stewart, who was armed with at least one knife and threatening the officer. When Mr. Stewart disregarded orders to drop the knife, the officer responded with deadly force.
“As in all cases under its consideration, the responsibility of the U.S. Attorney’s Office is to determine whether it can prove all elements of a federal crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, we cannot prove any crime was committed when the BIA officer used deadly force when threatened by Mr. Stewart,” Alme said.
According to Lodge Grass Mayor Quincy Dabney, Stewart had barely left the house and stood on the porch when he was shot.