Billings, MT – A Billings SWAT officer was shot while trying to apprehend a barricaded woman during a 14-hour armed standoff on Saturday night.
The incident began at approximately 1:30 a.m. on March 18, when the Billings Police Department (BPD) received a report about a woman making threats on social media, the Ravalli Republic reported.
Officers responded to the woman’s Birch Lane residence in the Billings Heights area, but left after she refused to come out to speak with them, according to the BPD.
The nature of the threats the suspect was allegedly making was not immediately released.
Shortly after 7 a.m., police received a report that the woman was shooting into other homes from her residence, KULR reported.
When officers arrived back at the mobile home park, the woman barricaded herself inside her house and proceeded to post messages to Facebook about her wiliness to die and how the police were allegedly out to get her, according to the Ravalli Republic.
Neighbors said the woman had been served with an eviction notice days earlier.
They said she was generally a friendly person, but that she could also be volatile and had been feuding with her next-door neighbor, the Ravalli Republic reported.
Police quickly evacuated nearby residences and shut down Birch Lane to the 1000-block of Bench Boulevard, according to KULR.
BPD SWAT officers were trying to deliver a throw phone to the suspect at approximately 10:45 a.m. so they could establish communication with her, but she allegedly began shooting at them, according to the news outlet.
One of the SWAT officers was hit during the attack.
The SWAT officers immediately returned fire, but the shooter was able to retreat back into the home and was not struck, KULR reported.
BPD Lieutenant Matt Lennick said the wounded SWAT officer was rushed to a local hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery, the Ravalli Republic reported.
He was listed in stable condition later that night.
The wounded hero’s identity was not immediately released and details regarding his injuries are unclear.
Meanwhile, police snipers staged on two rooftops near the scene and swarms of law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responder vehicles flooded the neighborhood as the standoff continued, the Ravalli Republic reported.
“We are not going away,” one BPD negotiator told the suspect through a megaphone, according to the paper.
Police utilized a drone and flashbangs as the day wore on, but the suspect continued to fire at police from her home from time to time, KTVQ reported.
“She’s still shooting at us,” Lt. Lennick confirmed on Saturday afternoon, according to the Ravalli Republic.
Police also crashed through her front door with an armored truck to disable her security system so she would not be able to monitor the tactical operations taking place outside.
Two ends of the trailer house had been torn open by law enforcement by the time the sun set on Saturday.
The suspect continued posting updates to social media for several hours on Saturday before investigators cut her internet access, the Ravalli Republic reported.
Police also played a recording from one of the suspect’s family members over a loudspeaker so the barricaded woman could hear her pleas for her to surrender peacefully.
“Whatever you’re going through, you don’t have to go through it alone,” the family member said in the message, according to the Ravalli Republic. “I need you to think of your grandkids. You need to reach out and talk to someone, let them help you.”
“If you agree to give up peacefully, you won’t be harmed,” she continued. “I love you, don’t do anything. You should give up. We don’t want you to be hurt. We love you and miss you. Please surrender. I’m begging you.”
Mental health professionals were also contacted by the BPD for assistance, KULR reported.
Lt. Lennick said police were utilizing all of the tools they could in an effort to get the suspect to cooperate, but he noted the final outcome was up to her.
“We are doing everything we can to end things peacefully,” Lt. Lennick told the Ravalli Republic. “It truly falls on her shoulders to come out and cooperate.”
The Montana Highway Patrol (MHP), U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) and the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) assisted the BPD throughout the afternoon and evening, the Ravalli Republic reported.
Tactical units from Lewis and Clark County and Gallatin County responded to the scene during the eighth hour of the standoff to relieve the officers who had been at the site since it began.
Shortly before 10 p.m., firefighters equipped tactical teams with a fire hose, which they used to introduce water into the home, KULR reported.
The suspect then surrendered without further incident, according to police.
She has since been identified as 57-year-old Mary White Crane, KULR reported.
White Crane was booked into the Yellowstone County Detention Facility on one count of attempted deliberate homicide, two counts of criminal mischief, and three counts of felony criminal endangerment.
“My greatest appreciation goes to large team that resolved the standoff on Birch Lane without injuring civilians,” Billings Mayor Bill Cole said in a statement on Sunday.
White Crane’s daughter, Shamica Stiles, told KTVQ her mother has mental health issues and that police likely got her “worked up.”
“She’s schizophrenic, bipolar, and I imagine she also has some PTSD in there,” Stiles told the news outlet. “It’s really easy to get her worked up and to trigger those things in her.”