Bond set at $750k for man accused of baseball fields shooting

Helena baseball fields shooting
Posted at 8:27 AM, Feb 28, 2023

HELENA — An 18-year-old Helena man accused of attempted homicide following Thursday’s shooting at baseball fields near the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds appeared via video in court Monday afternoon.

Julien McKnight, of Helena, is facing two counts of attempted deliberate homicide and two counts of tampering with evidence. Lewis and Clark County Justice of the Peace Michael Swingley set McKnight’s bond at $750,000.

Last Thursday night around 9:30 p.m., police responded to reports of two juveniles shot at Ryan Park on Helena's west side. Officers reported finding blood and spent casings from a suspected .2-23 caliber rifle.

Witnesses told police that an argument started between two women earlier and at one point they agreed to meet at the baseball fields to fight.

Helena baseball fields shooting

Court records say at the park one group approached a vehicle allegedly driven by 18-year-old Jonathon Countryman, and reportedly began beating on the vehicle and trying to pull him from the car. Then shots were fired.

Two people suffered life-threatening injuries and were taken to St Peter’s Health.

Helena Police found Countryman about three hours after the shooting. Detectives claim when questioned, Countryman gave conflicting information before eventually identifying McKnight as the alleged shooter.

In an interview with officers, McKnight alleged said he got an M-14 rifle and fired several rounds from inside the vehicle, but did not know if he hit anyone.

Court documents say another witness who was also in Countryman's car, also identified McKnight as the alleged shooter, and said Countryman and McKnight planned the shooting.

Countryman was charged last weekcharged with two counts of attempted deliberate homicide by accountability.