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Man arrested following Billings fire investigation facing charges

Posted at 6:13 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 20:47:30-05

The man arrested following an investigation of two Billings house fires is behind bars after prosecutors said he pointed an air gun at police.

Suspect Jackson Herring pleaded not guilty in Yellowstone County court Tuesday four felony charges and a misdemeanor after events from Feb. 26. All charges are related to burglaries from homes and pointing the gun at the officer. Prosecutors indicated more charges could be forthcoming.

According to reports from Detective Ryan Kramer of the Billings Police Department, on Feb. 26 at approximately 11:04 a.m. officers were dispatched to the 600 block of Broadwater Avenue regarding a structure fire.

Officers reported the fire appeared to be intentionally set, according to charging documents. Officers spoke to the homeowner, who reported that a man was sleeping in his Jeep behind the residence.

Kramer reported that while investigating, officers were dispatched to the 500 block of Fifth Street West for a report of another structure fire at approximately 1:05 p.m., just two blocks from the first fire.

Homeowners of the second house fire reported that several items had been stolen from the home.

Nearby residents who called in the second fire, reported seeing a man in a tan jacket wearing headphones, later identified as Herring. He was walking east in the alleyway between 5th and 4th ST. W. Officers did not locate the man during their initial search.

A Billings police officer reported that after searching for the man he heard screaming coming from the 300 block of Custer Avenue.

When officers arrive at the scene, a woman exited her residence and directed them to the backyard.

Officers found the man with the tan jacket who had what appeared to be a black assault rifle in his hand. The firearm was later identified as an airsoft gun, which the man was pointing at an officer.

The officer, who believed it was a real gun, told Herring to put it down, and he complied, according to charging documents. Herring said he had hoped the officer would “blow a hold in [his] head,” and that he had been “robbed by other transients,” according to charging documents.

The officers were able to detain the suspect and identify him as Herring, and they found two lighters and several stolen items in his possession from the homes.

The investigation into Herring is currently ongoing, according to prosecutors.