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'Just unreal': Billings police investigate fatal shooting late Saturday at carnival

'Just unreal': Billings police investigate fatal shooting late Saturday at carnival
Posted at 9:15 AM, Apr 30, 2023

Update 5:10 p.m.

The Carnival at Berry's Cherries Auto came to an abrupt stop for those in attendance Saturday night when gunshots were fired and a 20-year-old man was found dead in a vehicle.

Multiple people at the carnival said they noticed disturbances from juveniles in masks.

“A group of teenagers, they kept coming back, they’d get kicked out and then they’d put masks on and come back,” said Kalea Kiesser on Sunday.

Kiesser was at the carnival with a group of friends. Anna Rasmussen was among that group and said she felt unsafe because of the people in masks. So, she decided to call the Billings police around 10:41 p.m. and when she was speaking to an officer at the carnival, gunshots were fired.

“A little girl about, maybe 10 years old came up to an adult and was like, somebody has a gun,” Rasmussen said. “Shots were fired, about 10 shots…There were babies, there were toddlers running around, mainly teenagers. And it was just unreal.”

Aidan Delude, of Helena, was in Billings for his two sisters' soccer tournament. He wanted to go to the carnival, but his family members did not want to attend. So, the 16 year old went alone and also saw the people in masks.

“I would say there was like 10 of them or something. It was just like kids just covering their faces for no reason and like hands in pockets looking weird,” Delude said. “It was really scary. It was really hard to sleep [afterward].”

Riley Cooke is the owner of the carnival that rents out the parking lot of Berry's Cherries Auto. He said the shooting did not happen inside the carnival.

“That’s important that we make people understand that it didn’t happen out there. They were completely off the property,” Cooke said. “When the police let us, we will reopen… We’re going to reopen because we didn’t do anything wrong. We still want to present what we present.”

Cooke said the carnival does have hired security guards.

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First Report

BILLINGS - Billings police officers are investigating a fatal shooting late Saturday.

Police said in a press release Sunday morning that officers were first notified of an incident at the carnival in the 800 block of First Avenue North across from MetraPark. Dispatch received reports at about 10:41 p.m. of a group of juveniles telling others they had a firearm.

As officers responded, dispatch received reports of a large group of juveniles, some wearing masks, running around the area and assaulting a person who was trying to flee in a vehicle.

"Reports of shots being fired were then reported to dispatch," the press release states. "As Officers were arriving in the area the majority of the juveniles involved were fleeing the scene. Officers located the victim vehicle in the parking lot in which there was a 20-year-old male who had suffered a gunshot wound and was pronounced deceased."

Police detectives were called in and were conducting the investigation at the carnival.

A person of interest was identified and located by officers, the press release states. Officers also attempted to locate as many witnesses and involved individuals as possible.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information that has not spoken to officers yet is asked to contact dispatch at 406-657-8200.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.