Woman critically injured in southwestern Montana shooting

Belgrade shooting investigation.jpg

A southwestern Montana woman is hospitalized in critical condition after a weekend shooting that left another woman dead.

The family of 32-year-old Ashley Van Hemert tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle she was in surgery Tuesday after being shot Sunday at a residence in Belgrade, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) northwest of Bozeman. Lyle Van Hemert of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said his daughter suffered a gunshot wound, a broken arm, broken ribs and punctured lungs.

The shooting was reported on Sunday morning. Officers said 35-year-old Lauren Walder DeWise died at the scene.

Belgrade Police said Sunday they had taken a suspect into custody, however the suspect has not been identified and it's not clear if that person remained in custody on Tuesday.


Belgrade Police Chief E.J. Clark Jr. issued the following release Tuesday evening:

The Belgrade Police Department responded to a shooting incident on Idaho Street in Belgrade on January 7, 2018 at approximately 9:00 a.m.

Upon arrival officers entered and located two victims. One victim was deceased and one was transported to the hospital for medical treatment and remains hospitalized. No one else was inside the home at that time. After speaking with witnesses officers located and detained a person of interest and that person was interviewed.

Throughout the day and night Investigators and officers from the Belgrade Police Department, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Bozeman Police Department, Montana State University Police and members from Federal agencies have worked tirelessly to complete numerous interviews, process the scene and follow up leads developed by their efforts and those reported by citizens.

It became apparent that the person of interest would need to be released without arrest. I understand this fact will upset people and they will not understand the reasons. Everyone must understand that the investigators know the severity of this case and they share the public’s feelings for justice.

We realize that those not familiar with how the Justice system works may not understand this process and become angry and frustrated. We in Law Enforcement hear you and understand your feelings and concerns. We also know that you want us to get it right. I can tell you that the investigative team is working very hard to obtain justice for these victims and their families.

Without someone in custody several people have raised concerns about the publics’ safety during this time. The investigators and command staffs involved in this case want you to know that the public’s safety is our number one concern. If we feel there is an urgent public safety risk we will immediately notify you by the quickest means.

During these investigations we cannot give out all the details that everyone wants to know. We sympathize with you and ask for your understanding and patience. Please trust in the officers that we all count on.

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