Accused Bozeman mall parking lot shooter appears in court


BOZEMAN, Mont. - New details emerge on a Bozeman shooting outside a fast food restaurant that sent a woman to the hospital. The accused shooter appeared before a judge Monday morning.

Police said 22-year old Nathaniel Budd tried to kill two people at the Taco Bell drive-through in the mall parking lot as they waited in line for food, around 1:30 on Saturday morning.

Court documents state the Livingston man and two alleged victims got into an argument while in their cars.

It started when the man and woman were waiting to pull into the drive-through line. They told police Budd pulled up behind them, flashing his lights and honking his horn.

The two said they gestured out the window for Budd to pass them.

When he didn't, reports state the woman passenger got out of the car and yelled at Budd, then went back to the car and got back in. The two pulled into the drive-through line.

According to investigators, Budd then pulled into oncoming traffic, next to the couple's car. Both sides rolled down their windows and the woman and Budd started arguing.

After the argument, officers said Budd pulled out a semi automatic hand-gun and fired three shots. He hit the passenger woman with two of those shots- once in her back and once in her right leg. She survived.

Police said Budd fled the scene, but a short time later they pulled him over on the eastbound ramp of I-90 on 19th Avenue. Officers saw a pump-action shotgun, a pistol magazine pouch and the bottom of the grip of a handgun in plain view in his car.

Budd reportedly told officers he feared for his safety, and fired the shots in self defense.

"When he allegedly made that statement, he did make a claim of self defense" the public defender said during court.

Reports state Budd believed the woman was carrying a silver knife, and was screaming at him. He said the two looked threatening and he wanted to stop the threat, so he shot at both. Police searched the pair, and found a black pocket knife on the man.

"Your honor, the allegations here are quite outrageous" the state attorney said. "This was a random act, it does not appear that the defendant knew the victim in any way, and decided to take lethal force against them."

The public defender said Budd had no significant criminal history, and wasn't sure of Budd's mental state during the time- and if it had any influence on his behavior.

Budd is charged with two counts of Attempted Deliberate Homicide. A judge set bail at $100,000.