BILLINGS - Charges have been filed against a woman who was shot by a police officer inside the Billings Clinic Emergency Department.
Panda Emily Aradia, 36, was charged Wednesday with felony counts of criminal endangerment and assault with a weapon for the incident on Oct. 16.
Aradia is being held in the Yellowstone County jail while awaiting arraignment in Yellowstone County District Court.
According to charging documents, the incident began at about 5 p.m. when Aradia checked into the Billings Clinic Emergency Department for treatment of suicidal ideations. Aradia "successfully bypassed hospital security with a concealed and loaded Glock 19 handgun," court records state, and she was placed in a triage room.
A nurse came in the room and started an intake assessment, part of which included asking Aradia if she'd formed a plan to commit suicide. Prosecutors allege Aradia responded to the question by pulling out the handgun and pointing it at the nurse "for several seconds." She then turned the weapon on herself and told the nurse they had three minutes to get help or Aradia would shoot, court records state.
The nurse "tried to de-escalate but ultimately left the room and notified staff of the situation."
Hospital security officers responded, court records state, and went to speak with Aradia, who was still holding the gun on herself when officers entered the room. Aradia "told security they only had a few minutes to get help or she would start shooting," according to court records, and also told security they could not touch their radios or Taser.
A short time later, a team of Billings police officers arrived after responding to a 911 call from the hospital. As officers, who were carrying protective shields, approached the room where Aradia was placed they heard a gunshot from inside the room, court records state.
"At that moment, officers were unable to see (Aradia) and determine what she was shooting at," the court records state.
When officers entered the room, they found Aradia on the floor with a pistol to her right.
"Officers shouted commands at (Aradia) to not reach for the pistol," court records state. "(Aradia), however, reached for the pistol and pulled it to her body. Officers continued to shout commands to not engage with the pistol. (Aradia) made a sudden forward motion with the pistol from her body toward the officers, and one of the responding officers fired a single shot in response."
The officer who shot Aradia was identified by the department as Blaine Lane, a two-year member of the department. He was placed on administrative leave pending an internal police department investigation. Lane "is still working through the internal process before he can be cleared back to regular duty," police Lt. Matt Lennick said Wednesday.
After the shooting, investigators determined Aradia had shot herself in the lower abdomen "causing non-life-threatening injury." The bullet left Aradia's body and went through the wall into the adjacent room in the emergency department, court records state. A patient had just been removed from the room moments before and a nurse was still standing in the doorway of the room when the bullet came through the wall.
"Investigators also discovered that more than 80 people were inside the Emergency Department when (Aradia) came into the hospital and fired the round," court records state. "This number included hospital staff and patients. There were also an estimated 20-30 people in the Emergency Waiting Room when (Aradia) fired the round. These people were evacuated from the waiting area by hospital staff due to (Aradia's) threats. The waiting room was directly across from the triage room where (Aradia) was located."