BILLINGS - A 5-year-old boy is in the hospital after being shot in the Heights on Thursday evening. Police say he was shot by an 8-year-old boy.
Billings police Sgt. Matt Brewer said the boys had been playing together earlier in the day and had permission from their parents to go to an undeveloped area northwest of High Sierra dog park.
Brewer said the wounded boy was found by two girls, ages 12 and 13, who were riding dirt bikes. On their first ride through the area, the girls saw two bikes lying in the dirt. On their second ride, they found the injured boy.
One girl said when she initially saw the bikes she thought that people may have just ditched them on the trail to wander around. When the girls approached the bikes the second time, they saw the boy lying in the dirt path, which was hidden by hills, covered in blood.
The girls described the boy as coming in and out of consciousness when they found him. The 12-year-old girl ran for her dad, who was in the area, while the 13-year-old stayed with the boy.
A few minutes later, John Crawford, 42, who was running his dog in the area, came across the boy and 13-year-old girl and called the police at 6:15 p.m.
"I just saw a boy who was covered in blood and moaning, and a girl who looked up at me bawling,” Crawford said. “I didn’t know what to think. I just tried to keep the boy calm.”
Brewer said the boy suffered a gunshot wound in the lower abdomen and it appeared that the boy had been shot at least 15 minutes before the girls found him. He was taken to St. Vincent Healthcare and underwent surgery. Police said he was in stable condition in the hospital's pediatric intensive care unit.
At about 8 p.m., authorities were able to locate the suspect, an 8-year-old boy, at his home. He was transported to the Police Department with a parent to be interviewed.
A small-caliber gun and ammunition was found at the scene, Brewer said. He doesn’t believe anyone would have heard the gunshot because that type of gun doesn’t make a loud shot.
It is unclear where the boys got the gun, Brewer said.
The shooting remains under investigation.