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County Attorney: Montana Shooting Death Was Self-Defense

Chad Rockman, 43, of Billings died of a single gunshot wound to the chest April 8

BILLINGS — A Montana county attorney does not plan to press charges in a shooting death categorized as self-defense.

Chad Rockman, 43, of Billings died of a single gunshot wound to the chest April 8 in an area off Highway 212, The Billings Gazette reports.

Carbon County Attorney Alex Nixon issued a letter to county Sheriff Josh McQuillan explaining the reasoning for not prosecuting the male shooter, who was identified only as J.H.

Rockman and a friend drove to Lake Fork Trail to hike and later asked a pair of hikers to help free their car, which was stuck in a snowbank, Nixon wrote in the letter.

J.H. and a female companion identified as T.H. tried to help but Rockman became agitated by the couple’s dog.

The dog “became a catalyst for Rockman’s escalating behavior,” Nixon wrote.

Rockman picked up a large stick and repeatedly threatened to kill the dog before following the couple to their car, shattering the rear window and assaulting J.H.

T.H. used bear spray on Rockman to no effect and J.H. ultimately pulled out a handgun and ordered Rockman to stop.

J.H. fired a shot near Rockman’s leg in an unsuccessful attempt to deter him and then shot Rockman in the chest, killing him.

The testimonies given by the two hikers and Rockman’s friend were consistent, Nixon wrote.

“J.H. took several different measures to extricate himself from the situation,” Nixon wrote.