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Crime & Safety

Richland Sheriff’s Office looking for shooting suspect



The Richland County Sheriff’s Office is searching for 31-year-old Johnathan Carl Lee James after an investigation into a shooting in the early morning hours of March 20 determined he was a suspect in the incident.

The sheriff’s office received a call on March 20 at approximately 2:40 a.m. in reference to a 38-year-old male being treated at Sidney Health Center.

Sheriff’s office personnel arrived at the hospital and spoke to the victim, who told them the incident occurred at a residence near County Roads 350 and 126 just north of Sidney.

According to the victim, he and another male, later identified as James, were outside the residence along with an undisclosed number of other people when a verbal argument took place and he was shot by James.

The victim received serious injuries but are not believed to be life-threatening. He was transported from Sidney Health Center to another facility by air ambulance.

Sheriff’s office investigators then secured the area, interviewed a witness and using that information obtained a search warrant for the residence and surrounding area. Investigators then executed the search warrant, which along with other leads, led them to obtain an arrest warrant for James on charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. Among the items recovered during the search was the weapon believed to have been used in the shooting.

As of this time, James has not been located and it is believed that he left the scene in a 2012 silver four-door Chevrolet Silvarado pickup truck. The truck is described as being lifted with big tires and black stripes.

A 25-year-old witness, Rachelle Marie Burgess, is believed to have left the scene with James. Burgess has prior misdemeanor warrants for her arrest.

According to the press release, there is no indication that James is a threat to the public, however the RCSO advises anyone spotting James should not approach him but contact the sheriff’s office immediately or contact their local law enforcement office.

Richland County Sheriff John Dynneson expressed his thanks to the Montana Highway Patrol and the Sidney Police Department for their assistance in the case.

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