BILLINGS — It was business as usual at the Montana Club Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a man was shot right outside the restaurant. And now, a man who experienced it firsthand recounts a day he'll never forget.
"I was driving in and my wife and parents were already in the place, and a guy came pulling out, flashed his lights and said, don’t go there, there’s shooting, there’s shooting," said customer Tim Ferch.
Ferch immediately began to worry about his family, not knowing exactly what had happened.
"It was pretty spooky, but I wasn’t going anywhere with my family in there," added Ferch.
He was there for his 59th birthday, a day that was no longer a happy celebration. Ferch later learned from his wife and parents what exactly happened. It all began with shouting inside the restaurant.
"My parents said that they witnessed the original altercation and that a guy was yelling at his girlfriend and the staff, and it was a general big to do," Ferch said.
He said that’s when a man intervened and took the altercation outside.
"What I understand is a Wyoming policeman came and said, 'I’m a retired officer, I’ve got this.' And then they went outside and there was a gunshot," according to Ferch.
While customers inside were beginning to panic, Ferch was just pulling into the parking lot.
"I was probably there 15 seconds after shots fired. I saw someone laying on the ground and there were two people standing there," Ferch said.
Ferch knows the situation could have been much worse. And he feared the worst while waiting to learn what was happening. As for the man who pulled the trigger and shot the man, Ferch believes he’s a hero.
"We hear about mass shootings and things all the time. I didn’t know if someone was firing indiscriminately or what kind of a shooting it was and the guy that shot him, he’s a hero. I don’t know whose life he saved exactly but I’ll guarantee you it was somebody’s," added Ferch.
The man who started the argument was the one who was shot, and he was taken to a local hospital. No word on his condition. Billings police say the Wyoming law enforcement officer helped get the man out of the restaurant, but the officer was not the shooter. Police believe the shooter was another patron.
No one has been arrested.