Breaking news update 1:54 pm – Billings police believe suspect has been hit. SWAT teams now clearing the building
“Early this morning we had a vehicle that drove and broke through the doors of the Big Bear Sports Center here in town,” said Billings Police Cpt. Kevin Iffland. “A male subject went inside and we responded. There were some shots fired from Big Bear’s while we were on the outside.”
“Throughout a several hour ordeal there were shots that were coming from inside the building towards officers on the outside and there was return fire. At this point we believe we have hit the subject, but we’re still in the process of clearing the Big Bear Sports Center.”
“We’ve got SWAT teams clearing the building right now. I can’t confirm anything further from there.”
Billings news media is reporting there is an active shooter situation in Billings, and that Billings police have cordoned off a large area surrounding the Big Bear Sports Center on King Avenue.
Multiple media sources are reporting that the ongoing stand-off began around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, when an unidentified suspect rammed a vehicle through the entrance of Big Bear, apparently in an attempt to steal weapons.
At around 4:30 a.m Billings police began to exchange gunfire with the suspect, who had barricaded himself within the Big Bear store. According to MTN News, no police were struck by bullets in the exchange, but a police vehicle was struck by gunfire.
It is unknown whether the male suspect was injured during the exchange.
At around 9 a.m. a large explosion was heard, “rocking the building and area immediately surrounding the store.” That explosion is suspected to have been the detonation of a “flash-bang” explosive device utilized by Billings police. As of 12:07, the Billings bomb squad was still actively participating in the stand-off.
Negotiating teams are still in the area, using a bullhorn to communicate with the suspect. Three Billings dump trucks are now parked near the entrance of the Big Bear store, blocking the exit from the building.
According to MTN news, at around 11:50 a.m. two quick shots were fired. This was followed by steady gunfire about 15 minutes later. Two additional flash-bangs were detonated near the entrance of Big Bear Sports shortly thereafter.
Billings police are urging citizens to stay away from the area.
The Tribune will update this story as additional information becomes available
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