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Fair shooting scary for Billings girl, investigation on-going

Posted at 8:15 AM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 10:15:16-04

BILLINGS - There have been no arrests made in Monday night's shooting that sent panicked fairgoers running for cover.

But more people are coming forward to tell their stories about the frightening incident.

One girl was stuck on a ride when shots rang out.

For high school senior Seana Gallagher, the night took an unexpected turn, right after she and a friend had seated themselves on a ride at MontanaFair.

"The ride had started as normal, but all of a sudden we heard a pop," Gallagher said. "And me and my good friend, both of us living in bad neighborhoods, we know what guns sound like."

Gallagher and three of her friends are among the many stuck on rides that night with no easy way to escape. They could only watch as others fled.

"It was really terrifying," said Gallagher. "You never know. Is he right there? Is he far away from us? Gunshots, they echo so you can never really hear from where they're coming from, especially in small spaces."

Fortunately, Yellowstone County sheriff's deputies sprang into action, quickly stopping the threat.

"From what I saw, the sheriff did a tremendous job," said John Hanschen, Thomas Carnival, Inc. president. "My people did a tremendous job."

Hanschen said his crews reacted as quickly as possible.

"My people, to the best of their ability, were keeping people out of the way of others that were rushing about," Hanschen said. "But then within a short period of time, I noticed that it settled down. The Sheriff had it completely under control. And there was no further panic, as far as I could tell."

Gallagher waited for her friends and they to eventually made it safely to the parking lot.

"It's a little scary and it's, it's a lot to deal with at a time," she said. "But I think that we're all doing pretty good as we're trying to move past it."

A difficult night for fair goers and staff all caught in a nightmare situation.

"And that's over split-second decisions," Hanschen said. "And they're pretty darn good people. I'm really proud of them."