Billings MT Man Released After Shooting - Possible Self-Defense

Billings MT Man Released After Shooting - Possible Self-Defense

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Thread: Billings MT Man Released After Shooting - Possible Self-Defense

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    Billings MT Man Released After Shooting - Possible Self-Defense

    BillingsGazette.com :: Billings man who fired pistol in self-defense released

    A Billings man who was arrested after firing a pistol in a tavern parking lot has been released from the county jail.

    Justin Swanz, 26, was freed about 10 hours after his arrest early Tuesday when county prosecutors sent the case back to police for further investigation. Chief Deputy County Attorney Mark Murphy said he could not discuss details of the case, but Swanz claimed in an interview Wednesday that he fired the pistol in self-defense.

    Swanz was arrested after police responded about 1:20 a.m. Tuesday to a weapons complaint at Shooters Casino and Sports Bar, 1600 Ave. D.

    Officers stopped Swanz as he was leaving the parking lot in a Jeep Cherokee.
    Swanz told The Gazette on Wednesday that he fired once into the air as six or seven men advanced on him in the parking lot following a confrontation inside the bar. Swanz said he fired the Taurus .44 Special revolver once.

    "They were going to beat me up," Swanz said. "I had no choice but to fire that shot in the air. It was total self-defense."

    Swanz said he had arrived at the tavern alone between 10 and 11 p.m. to play pool. He bought a pitcher of beer and played several pool games with another man. Swanz said he went to leave shortly after 1 a.m. and was confronted by men who claimed he owed the other man $1,200 for betting losses on the pool table.

    Swanz said he did not bet on the games, but the men threatened him and one man grabbed his pocket knife from his front pants pocket. Swanz was told to leave, so he grabbed his jacket and walked out of the tavern, he said.

    As he walked to his car, Swanz said, the men followed and continued to threaten him. When it appeared they were going to attack him, Swanz said, he pulled his pistol from his coat pocket, pointed it into the air and fired one shot. The gunfire stopped the men, although someone threw ice on him, he said.

    Swanz said he does not have a concealed weapons permit. Swanz said he is unemployed and he has no criminal record.
    But where did that round come down?
    "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground."

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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array glock27mark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CT-Mike View Post
    true. what goes up must come down. i don't know,
    maybe he could have ran to his car.or possibly back inside
    the bar.no cwp but loaded pistol in car. not good.
    good luck buddy.
    (SHERIFF BUFORD T. JUSTICE) "what the hell is
    the world coming too"

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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    Having a loaded pistol in a vehicle in Montana without a CCW is legal and carrying outside city limits concealed without a license is also legal. Carrying into a bar is illegal with or without a license and as far as I know this would be a misdemenor with a max of 6 months jail and/or a max of a $500 fine. If he has no prior criminal record, he'll probably pay a $100 fine.
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  4. #4
    Member Array cowbilly's Avatar
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    firing into the air after someone had threatened you with a knife and continued to pursue would not be an option. keeping the 21 foot rule in mind if the bg broke 22 feet a warning and shot center of mass would be a better stop to protect any innocents
    Never approach a Bull from the front , a Horse from the rear or a Fool from any direction!

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Sticks's Avatar
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    Poor choice in firing into the air, instead of the ground. However, it did end the confrontation without bloodshed (that we know of).

    Poor choice in NOT staying on scene and calling the police to report the incident.
    Sticks

    Grasseater // Grass~eat~er noun, often attributive \ˈgras-ē-tər\
    A person who is incapable of independent thought; a person who is herd animal-like in behavior; one who cannot distinguish between right and wrong; a foolish person.
    See also Sheep

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowbilly View Post
    firing into the air after someone had threatened you with a knife and continued to pursue would not be an option.
    It is an option. At the point when the gun is drawn, depending on timing and distances involved, there are three: (a) shoot the aggressor; (b) shoot a "warning" shot; (c) draw and hold, hoping the aggressor will stop.

    Short answer is: depends on the situation. In downtown Manhattan at rush hour, that lone bullet's gonna hit someone, whereas at a lone restaurant on a country road it isn't likely to hit anything but the ground. Which was which, in this case, isn't clear.

    In this case, if the facts are straight, the shot avoided someone's death. In the same sense that someone must pay if someone dies in an attack, someone must be commended if a death is avoided due to a specific action.

    Yes, a bullet in the air has no known destination. That's not good, I'll grant. But the likelihood of harming someone with that one, lone shot is far less than the likelihood of striking a target at the intentional point of aim.

    Depends on what your goal is: to stop the attack, or kill the attacker. Seems to me that if stopping is the goal, then avoidance of killing isn't all bad, even if that be via shooting in the air as the last possible act of avoidance. The result was: nobody got shot and nobody died, with fairly low risk of someone being harmed in that last act. That "warning" shot may not be the best option, but then I wasn't there. It is hardly a crime, no matter how bent the authorities get. ("Choice of evils" statutes come to mind.)

    That being said, I have been in a multiple-attacker situation against me. In that situation, I drew the gun and commanded the lead aggressor to rethink his options. Merely drawing seemed to me preferable to a "warning" shot, and either preferable to shooting to stop. But then, I had the time and distance to consider the two, and I was in a parking lot with many people and two nearby streets full of cars driving by. Had these two aggressors been right there, I'm certain the options would have been pared to one: shoot to stop, and that as quickly as could be achieved.

    As always, YMMV, situation depending.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
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  7. #7
    VIP Member Array LongRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CT-Mike View Post
    But where did that round come down?
    Outside a Bill in's? Anywhere of a thousand square miles of open range. Ideally not into a sheep herders bare rear

    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    The result was: nobody got shot and nobody died, with fairly low risk of someone being harmed in that last act. That "warning" shot may not be the best option, but then I wasn't there. It is hardly a crime, no matter how bent the authorities get. ("Choice of evils" statutes come to mind.)
    Yep what you said
    Abort the Obamanation not the Constitution

    Those who would, deny, require permit, license, certification, or authorization for me to bear arms are as vile, dangerous & evil as those who would molest, abuse, assault, rape or murder my family

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    By his own statement he ordered a _pitcher_ of beer for himself.
    Inside of at best per his own statements he consumed some if not all of said pitcher within a 3 hr. time frame, again a best case scenario.
    Further he was carrying a firearm on his person without a license, which is as stated by Supertac is unlawful. I'd bet $1,200 carrying a firearm even with a license, which he did not have as per his own statement, and doing so while under the influence of alcohol is not lawful.
    Not to mention the issues of perception and warping of reality as is very commonly known and medically proven as real even with just one full beer amongst everyone including even big huge heavy people whether they 'feel' it or not.

    This guy may have been accosted and likely was.
    But, the circumstances as detailed above regardless of assault potential place him in a pot of hot water. Further they show he is a person of poor judgment and that is the key word here toward his use or misuse of force, judgment. That is how a judge or jury in a court of law will be seeing things and tasked to assess. His ability to make a judgment and the results of as much.

    Firing warning shots is fubar.
    Firing guns into the air gets people hurt and property damaged worldwide, outside of say a uninhabited area of desert.
    Drinking while carrying, regardless of carry legality status, that is very poor judgment and won't help one at all if by chance like this guy one finds them self post drink in the position of judge if not jury and worst executioner.

    If I were on his jury his goose would be cooked.

    - Janq takes this stuff seriously
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  9. #9
    Distinguished Member Array Fitch's Avatar
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    This guy doesn't seem like the brightest bulb in the store, but then none of the participants do truth be told.

    I don't drink alcohol, but if I did, I'd sure be careful not to get myself in a situation like that. He is almost certainly legally drunk, probably not packing legallly since he doesn't have a permit, and being approached by several beligerant people, one of which has a knife. He was about out of options at that point - which was pretty much, but not completely, his own fault.

    That said, the agressors did not have the right to pull a knife on him and threaten to or actually attack him either. Their actions effectively finish backing the guy into the corner he had made for him self. At that point he only had two options, fire a warning shot or shoot the guy with the knife.

    His nice options were all gone. But he does have a right to defend himself if the guy with a knife sees the gun and attacks him anyway.

    Fitch

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array LongRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    If I were on his jury his goose would be cooked.
    - Janq takes this stuff seriously
    You are a hard man Janq. Really have you ever seen Billings? I am serious about the thousand square miles of open range. When you leave Billing you better have a full tank of gas no matter what direction you go. As far as the rest I pretty much agree, except well we are talking about Billing. If I remember correctly it was you who reminded us all about needing to take into account different areas have well different rules & standards and customs.
    I hate to tell you what I did on my motorcyle going through Montana on HWY 90 doing 90mph plus
    Abort the Obamanation not the Constitution

    Those who would, deny, require permit, license, certification, or authorization for me to bear arms are as vile, dangerous & evil as those who would molest, abuse, assault, rape or murder my family

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