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Outside agency to probe Montana police shooting

UPDATE: The police chief of Montana’s largest city says an outside law enforcement agency will investigate the fatal police shooting of a man in a hotel office after he turned toward officers with a gun. It was the seventh fatal shooting by law enforcement since 2012 in Billings, which has about 110,000 people. All of the prior shootings were ruled justified. Billings Police Chief Rich St. John says the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office will lead the investigation into Thursday’s shooting in the lobby of a Day’s Inn hotel. St. John says an outside investigation into the officer’s actions was needed given the heightened attention for recent police shootings across the country. Authorities say Officer David Raschkow shot the unidentified suspect three times in the chest after 25 minutes of negotiations failed to convince the suspect to drop his handgun. __ A police officer shot and killed a 32-year-old Wyoming man at a Billings hotel early Thursday. Police Chief Rich St. John says the man was in the hotel clerk’s office with a handgun, had refused orders to drop the weapon and was turning to face officers when Officer David Rashkow fired three shots, hitting the man in the chest. No one else was injured. Rashkow was placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated. St. John says the clerk called police at about 4 a.m. Thursday to report that an armed man was at the Days Inn making irrational statements. St. John says when officers arrived the man was in the hotel office, where he could see the security camera feeds. The man threatened to start shooting. St. John says efforts to negotiate with the man failed due to his uncooperative and erratic behavior. The man’s name and hometown have not been released.

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