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Residents respond to the standoff on Birch Road



Billings, Montana — Officers were able to persuade Mary White Crane, 57, to surrender following a 14-hour standoff in the Billings Heights, and residents were allowed to return home Saturday night after being evacuated.

On the 700 block of Birch Lane, across from White Crane, Parker Sinks and his grandma reside. He claimed that on Saturday early, loud noises were coming from outside the house.

“I had woken up to a loud boom and had enough time to throw some clothes on, peek my head around the corner of the house and I had seen a police officer fall. And after that I was kind of frozen in shock,” Sinks said Sunday. “I was like, wow I really just saw that.”

Sinks observed White Crane shoot a policeman.

“Ever since then, I’ve been thinking like, what if that was one of my family members? Or my grandma, who I live with,” he said. “I’m doing okay. I’m a little traumatized, a little shocked.”

According to a news release from Billings Police Lt. Matt Lennick, the wounded officer is being treated at a nearby hospital.

“Officers attempted contact with the suspect for approximately two hours with no cooperation from the suspect. At approximately 10:45 a.m. Officers with BPD SWAT attempted to deliver a throw phone to the suspect in an attempt to establish a line of communication. The suspect fired at Officers, striking one Officer. Officers returned fire but the suspect was able to retreat into the residence unharmed,” Lennick said.

Lennick claims that after police used a fire hose to spray water into White Crane’s residence, she started cooperating and eventually gave herself up.

With three counts of felony criminal endangerment, two counts of criminal mischief, and one count of attempted purposeful killing, White Crane is being held at the Yellowstone County Correctional Center.

On Sunday afternoon, Billings police were still examining the scene at White Crane’s house.

Lesya Zakahchenko claimed that because she was at work before 5 a.m. on Saturday, she wasn’t evacuated by the police. Nonetheless, she was perplexed to find her street blocked when she got home at 10 a.m.

After moving to the neighborhood three years ago, Zakahchenko has claimed that this is “not the first Mary issue.”

“I didn’t want police to shoot her, you know, even with all this, her trouble in the neighborhood. But she’s still human,” Zakahchenko said.

When she found out why she couldn’t get to her home, Zakahchenko couldn’t help but remember the conversation she had with White Crane on Friday. She said White Crane came over and was talking “crazy.”

“Why I think she was prepared, she talks about she bought a very strong coverage for her front door and nobody can get in if she locks it,” Zakahchenko said. “[White Crane asked] please watch my property because I will probably be gone tomorrow, so I guess she knew something.”

White Crane wasn’t acting “aggressively,” according to Zakahchenko, who didn’t think to call the police because she was merely “chatting away.”

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