Shooting In Great Falls On March 21 Has Been Ruled Self Defense
A March 21st shooting near the Town Pump Store on the northside of 10th Avenue South has been ruled self defense. Cascade County Attorney Josh Racki tells us in an exclusive interview that they talked to about a dozen witnesses and they were all sharing the same story.
We talked to several witnesses and really quite frankly they all had about the same story of how this went down. It appears at this point that the man shot to death proceeded to walk towards the shooter and at that point the shooter was forced to defend himself.
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The shooter struck 35 year old Gerald Stillsmoking once in the chest and according to reports the single bullet hit the man's heart killing him. Stillsmoking was rushed to Benefis Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Originally the manner of death was considered homicide but Racki says that's not the case. He says the two just had a chance meeting which led to the shooting along Ninth Avenue South near 15th Street. Racki also says that the shooting may have some sort of gang connection. But they are not sure what was said that led up to the confrontation.
This shooting was one of several shootings that occured around Great Falls over a three week period. One man shot his estranged wife and then himself, another incident involved a suspect on parole that shot a police officer. That police officer is recovering and the suspect is also recovering at the infirmary down at the state prison in Deer Lodge. He was shot in the head as another police officer returned fire. Another shooting involved 14 and 15 year old boys, with one being shot in that incident.