BILLINGS -- The Crow Agency man shot and killed by police during a standoff at Big Bear Sports Center in Billings on Saturday was on probation for threatening two strangers with a sawed-off rifle at a Billings fast-food restaurant in 2015.
Frank Joey Half Jr., 30, was recently at the Butte Pre-release Center, where he was serving out a five-year sentence with the Montana Department of Corrections for criminal endangerment, possession of dangerous drugs and carrying a concealed weapon.
In January 2015, officers were called to the Burger King on King Avenue East for a report of an armed man fighting with two people.
When officers arrived, they found a man holding Half down.
Another man said Half was armed and, as the officer approached, he could see the barrel of a rifle sticking out of Half’s sleeve.
It was later determined that the rifle barrel had been sawed off to the hand-grip.
The two victims told officers that they had been collecting minnows from a nearby creek when Half approached. He told them they were in his hunting area and fired a round in their direction.
The victims said they left the area and went to the nearby Burger King.
Half ran up to the victims at the restaurant and pointed the gun at their abdomens and demanded money.
The men offered to buy Half a burger and gave him cigarettes.
One victim then grabbed the barrel of the gun and shoved it in Half’s face before wrestling Half to the ground.
The men held Half down until officers arrived. Half was transported to the Yellowstone County Detention Facility, where officers found methamphetamine in Half’s pocket.
It’s unclear if Half was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the incident at Burger King and toxicology results from the incident at Big Bear are still pending.
Authorities are trying to determine why Half crashed his vehicle into the front entrance of Big Bear on Saturday, leading to a nine-hour standoff and eventual shootout with police.
Autopsy results released Tuesday showed Half did not take his own life and was in fact killed by police.
Eight officers remain on administrative leave.