2 Shot to Death in Dorm in Montana; Student Held
A Montana State University student armed with a shotgun killed two other students early this morning at a dormitory, authorities said.
Brett D. Byers, 19, was charged with two counts of deliberate homicide, felony criminal mischief and reckless driving after he was arrested in East Helena following a high-speed chase.
Bozeman Police Chief Dick Boyer said officers were called to Langford Hall on the campus at 2:20 a.m., where they found two students who had been shot more than once. The victims died later at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, he said.
Boyer identified the victims as freshmen James Clevinger, 19, of Billings, and Brian Boeder, 19, of Plymouth, Minn. The shootings occurred in Boeder’s room, he added.
Authorities did not immediately release any information on a possible motive.
School spokesman Allan Smart confirmed that Byers and the victims were all students at the university, which has an enrollment of about 11,000.
Byers, who turned 19 last Friday, said nothing as Justice of the Peace Wallace Jewell read the charges. The frail teen-ager, handcuffed and wearing gray jail coveralls, was later transported to Bozeman by police and sheriff’s officers.
A witness identified Byers in the hallway after the shooting, said Lewis and Clark County Atty. Mike McGrath.
Bozeman police alerted authorities in Helena, 90 miles to the northwest, to watch for Byers’ pickup truck. McGrath said authorities surmised Byers might be heading for Great Falls, his hometown, and would drive through Helena.
The truck was spotted by a Lewis and Clark County deputy sheriff at 4:50 a.m. on U.S. Highway 12 near East Helena, Sheriff Chuck O’Reilly said.
A high-speed chase followed, and the suspect was arrested after he crashed through a highway fence and into a gas pump and two power poles at a Circle K store parking lot, the sheriff said.