BILLINGS – The man suspected of leading police on a high-speed chase through multiple parts of Billings late Monday night has been identified as Ryan McElmury, 41 of Wyoming.
Billings Police Chief Rich St. John said Tuesday in a press conference that McElmury has been booked into the Yellowstone County Jail on charges related to string of alleged crimes, including burglary, armed robbery, vehicle theft and fleeing police pursuit.
St. John said a heavily involved pursuit lasted 50 minutes Monday night across areas of Billings. He said now officers are investigating 10 crimes scenes, where five vehicles were stolen—three of them at gunpoint.
He said no one was hurt except for the suspect.
St. John said it all started at 10:12 p.m. Monday, when Billings police officers responded to a burglary report at Performance Auto on Laurel Road.
A window was broken, and St. John said two males were found inside. The officer “challenged” the suspects, St. John said, and one, identified by police as Jason Ebarb, 42, complied and taken into custody. The other, McElmury, ignored the police and ran east in between two businesses.
St. John said at this point, additional officers arrived and heard a single gunshot. St. John said that later officers learned that McElmury used the used a handgun to steal a Ford pickup.
McElmury is accused of driving the pickup through a fence and then he headed west on Simpson Street.
St. John said that officers chased McElmury west on Simpson Street. McElmury made a U-turn and headed straight for officer patrol cars. A Billings police officer fired his gun at McElmury as he drove past him.
At this point, McElmury is said to have headed toward two occupied trailers on Simpson Street. Those homes were struck with bullets. At this point St. John said he is unsure if those bullets were from the police officer.
McElmury then headed west on Laurel Road where he crashed through a fence in the pickup near Centennial Homes, a business that sells manufactured homes.
St. John said police pursued McElmury onto King Avenue and pulled into the New Day group home on King Avenue West near the corner of 56th Street West.
“He forced his way into the residence and confronts a female,” said St. John. “He sticks a gun in her face and demands car keys. She tells him there is a car in the garage.”
St. John said as officers converged to his location, McElmury kept in the pickup but eventually jumped out and over a fence, running over to another home on King Avenue West and 54th Street West.
At this point, police believe McElmury smashed out the front window of the home and entered, St. John said.
“He points a gun at the homeowner’s face and demands keys, where he gets into a Chevy Avalanche,” said St. John.
St. John said this is when McElmury backed through a garage door and into a pickup truck that was parked nearby, again fleeing from police through fields.
During this part of the chase, St. John said McElmury led police on a pursuit reaching high speeds around the west end of Billings.
His route, according to St. John, was 48th Street West to Rimrock Road, around the Mormon Temple, back down to Rimrock, and then to Shiloh heading south in the northbound lane.
“The Avalanche was spike stripped, and McElmury was running on rims,” said St. John.
At Broadwater Avenue, he attempted to do a head-on stop with a vehicle, said St. John, saying essentially McElmury drove toward a car head-on trying to get it to stop.
The first car got around him.
But then he stopped another car, according to St. John, and got into the passenger side of a Chevy Suburban, forced the driver out of the car at gunpoint and headed east on Interstate 90.
St. John said again McElmury was spike stripped on the Lockwood Exit and continued running on rims.
“He goes to Town Pump and takes the car at gunpoint but couldn’t get it started,” said St. John.
He said then McElmury went to another woman who was gassing up a Toyota Pathfinder and at gunpoint, takes the vehicle and heads west toward Main Street.
St John said at this point in the night both the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office and Montana Highway Patrol troopers had joined the chase.
St John said McElmury was followed to Doyle Road, and he attempted to turn right but instead rolled the Pathfinder.
According to St. John, McElmury ran several hundred yards and found a trailer and a vehicle with keys in it. He then drove it through the shed wall and directly into where officers were staged.
“They all fired rounds fearing that he was trying to hit them,” said St. John. “He then got out and surrendered.”
No officers were injured, said St. John.
McElmury was injured in his head and hand and was taken to a hospital.
“It is beyond belief that no one was (seriously) hurt in this incident, including McElmury,” St. John told members of the press.
McElmury does have a criminal past in Wyoming, according to St. John. He also has a history of drug use, the chief said.
McElmury and Ebarb are both facing burglary charges for the original incident, according to Billings Police Lt. Brandon Wooley. The Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office will add charges if needed as the investigation continues, he said.
Reporting by Andrea Lutz for MTN News