- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A California man suspected of shooting at a fast-food restaurant employee and a Billings police officer was charged Monday with two counts of attempted deliberate homicide.

Justin Wesley Delacruz, 38, also was charged with robbery, criminal endangerment and drug possession during a Justice Court hearing.

Justice of the Peace David A. Carter set bail at $1 million for Delacruz after prosecutors argued he had no ties to Billings and had numerous felony convictions in California. They also noted the shooting was captured on police video.

Delacruz was accompanied at the hearing by assistant public defender James M. Siegman. Delacruz is scheduled to enter a plea Thursday in District Court.

Prosecutors allege Delacruz tried to follow two employees into a Sonic restaurant Sunday morning, but they told him he had to wait until it opened.

Later, one of the employees was returning from the grocery store when he was confronted by a man with a gun. Police Chief Rich St. John tells The Billings Gazette (https://bit.ly/1ouBiCi ) the suspect fired four shots at the employee as he ran away.

“The Sonic employee was ducking and dodging, trying to make it to the door,” St. John said.

The manager saw what was happening and tried to unlock to restaurant door and let the employee in, the police chief said. “One of the rounds hit the door, shattering it, showering her with glass,” he said.

About 50 yards away, officer Shane Weinreis heard the gunfire and responded. Weinreis said the suspect fired a shot at his windshield. The officer returned fire.

When the suspect’s gun jammed, Weinreis tackled him, St. John said.

“Our investigation revealed that Delacruz had been partying for several days, drinking heavily, smoking PCP-laced cigarettes, and he had meth in his possession,” St. John said.

No one was injured by the gunfire.


Information from: The Billings Gazette, https://www.billingsgazette.com

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