A Billings home on North 20th Street was hit by a drive-by shooting Monday morning.
This shooting happened just two days after another drive-by shooting less than a mile away left an 11-year-old girl injured.
The homeowner agreed to an interview with MTN News Monday morning’s shooting but asked to remain anonymous. She said waking up to bullets hitting her home at nearly 2 a.m. was disturbing.
“It’s scary,” she said. “It’s scary because you don’t know who’s in the house. Life isn’t precious anymore. They just take it.”
According to one Billings police officer on the scene, the incident is believed to be connected to the Saturday drive-by shooting on South 31st Street, but Lieutenant Matt Lennick said police are still investigating.
“It scares me to death is what it does,” the homeowner said. “What’s going to happen next? Are they going to go to the back of my house? Are they going to kick my front door in?”
Monday’s victim said that 10 kids live inside her home, and while no one was injured, she knows it could’ve gone differently.
“To be honest, it makes me angry,” she said. “I’m really angry. I mean, I’m upset, but I’m more angry. Anyone could have been killed.”
Similar to the drive-by on Saturday, the woman believes that the suspects in this case were teenagers.
“Young children that are 16 or 17 years old get in trouble and they come back and they do something to the house,” the homeowner said. “Me and my husband don’t have anything to do with it. We go to work, we come home, that’s it.”
Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said he has noticed a significant rise in teen violence in Billings.
“What we’re seeing a lot more of is young people committing violent acts,” Twito said. “When I mean young, I’m talking 13, 14, 15-year-olds using guns in violent ways.”
Twito said that rise is a big reason why he worked with a fellow Republican, state Rep. Bill Mercer of Billings, to rework the Montana Youth Court Act this past legislative session. Changes would have made it easier to prosecute teens under 16 that committed serious crimes.
“I want to have tools available, that is laws, that I can use to prosecute folks that are doing these terrible things in our community,” Twito said. “My frustration is that I’m trying to do my job, and with how the current act sits, in certain circumstances, I can’t.”
The bill ultimately failed, and while Twito said there isn’t necessarily a connection between the rise in teen violence and the act not being modified, in certain cases, just like this one, he knows it could make a difference.
“What just kills me is we need more tools to deal with the worst of the worst, not fewer,” Twito said. “We need to bring our youth court act into compliance with the realities of what we’re facing in our communities.”
And the homeowner in north Billings agrees that changes need to be made.
“Someone drove by and shot at the house,” she said. “We had to jump behind beds. We had to hide. I don’t understand why people keep doing this. These are kids doing this.”