Two killed in murder-suicide in Bridger

2010-05-12T07:29:00Z Two killed in murder-suicide in BridgerKAHRIN DEINES Billings Gazette Staff Ravalli Republic


BRIDGER - Officials late Tuesday released the names of two men killed in a murder-suicide as 20-year-old Bridger resident Ryan Joseph Webster and Joshua Vincent Brown, 19, of Red Lodge, who was identified as the suspect in Webster's death.

Carbon County Attorney Alex Nixon said in a press release that the deaths are being investigation as a "homicide-suicide."

Yellow crime scene tape still surrounded a home and four vehicles in Bridger on Tuesday where a shooting Monday resulted in the deaths of two young men.

The incident is being investigated by Bridger police and agents from the state's Division of Criminal Investigation.

Bridger police officers found Webster, dead from gunshot wounds in his home at 207 South Second St., on Monday night, according to the Carbon County Attorney's Office.

Mike Ventling, manager of the Cenex on Main Street, said Webster was an employee at the Town and Country Supply Association.

"It's hit this community real hard," Ventling said.

Brown, who was identified as a suspect, was found with gunshot wounds outside the home. He was taken to a Billings hospital, where he was pronounced dead from a single gunshot wound, Nixon said in the written statement.

On Tuesday morning, authorities were conducting their investigation out of a mobile unit parked near the house. A Ford Bronco and a pickup parked outside the home had been sealed with red tape. Two other vehicles also sat near the home, which is located on a quiet street where children's toys and bikes sit in a number of yards.

"My first-grader said this looked like ‘Law and Order' last night," said Lori Parker, who lives with her family on the block where the shootings took place.

Parker said she saw the Ford Bronco circle the block a number of times not too long after 5 p.m. She said she asked her children to go inside, because she did not recognize the vehicle and the driver was acting strangely, at one point parking up the street and peering back at her through his rearview mirror.

She went to the store and did not think about it again, until her 15-year-old son found out from a friend on the phone at about 7:10 p.m. that a shooting had taken place on their block. Officials said the shooting was reported at about 7 p.m.

When she stepped outside, Parker said, she saw officers "creeping" up the block in bulletproof vests with guns drawn. She quickly went back inside and soon could not see much but flashing lights from the many emergency vehicles that arrived.

Parker said Webster was a nice neighbor, who would wave and slow down when he drove past her children playing in the yard.

"He was just a super friendly, happy guy," she said. "He was short and stocky. They called him ‘Frodo.'"

School Superintendent John Ballard made counseling services available to students in the Bridger high school and elementary school on Tuesday. He said heard a former student had died in the shooting.

"We have put counseling staff in place for the kids so they can talk about what they're hearing," Ballard said.

At the gas station and supply store where Webster worked, he was remembered as a jokester and a hard-worker.

"He was just always willing to help everybody out," said Crystal Schober, a co-worker. "He always made the day exciting and interesting."

The Bridger Police Department, Carbon County Sheriff's Office and the Montana Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation continue to investigate.

Contact Kahrin Deines at or 657-1392.


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