Montana News

Oct 6, 2011 12:27 PM by Drew Trafton - Q2 News

FBI releases more details about triple homicide on Crow Reservation

BILLINGS- New details have emerged on the gruesome shooting deaths of three people in the Crow Indian Reservation and on the man now in federal custody in Washington State believed to be responsible for committing the crimes.

The criminal complaint issued Wednesday by an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation against 22-year-old Sheldon Bernard Chase says the initial call about the murders came into the Bureau of Indian Affairs dispatcher in Crow Agency shortly after 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

FBI and BIA agents responded to the property, located around mile marker 12 on Montana Highway 463 and found one of the victims, Rueben Jefferson, 20, outside the property of the home deceased with gunshot wounds to his face.

After discovering Jefferson's body, agents entered the home of Gloria Cummins, 80, and discovered both Cummins and Levon Driftwood, 21, deceased with gunshot wounds to the head and face.

Two children were present at the time of the murders, both the children of Jefferson. One of those children, a 3-year-old, told investigators during an interview that he saw Chase fighting with Jefferson outside the home and witnessed Chase murder his father. The child also confirmed Chase had also shot Cummins and Driftwood, who were Chase's grandmother and cousin.

After the shooting, the woman who made the initial call to the BIA and who lives close to Cummins property, told investigators during an interview that she observed Chase leaving the property around 12:10 p.m. The woman sent her son over to the Cummins property, where he found two of the victims, prompting the call to the BIA.

The criminal complaint also revealed that Chase had been in North Dakota at his mother's home on Oct. 3 where he took a Sitting Bull commemorative gun before departing for his grandmother's property where he was living at the time.

A review of Driftwood's cellular phone by investigators revealed that Driftwood had told Chase's mother via text message that he had arrived at Cummins property by 11:48 a.m.

The investigation also revealed that Chase had stopped taking medications for a mental illness before the shooting occurred. The complaint does not give the diagnosis of that illness.

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