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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana
Jesse Laslovich, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Monday, March 25, 2024

Billings Man Accused of Armed Patrols on Sidewalk in an Elementary School Zone Admits Firearms Crime

BILLINGS, Mt. — A Billings man accused of conducting armed patrols on the sidewalk in front of his residence, which is across the street from a public elementary school, admitted to a firearms crime today, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.  

The defendant, Gabriel Cowan Metcalf, 49, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm in a school zone, as charged in an indictment. Metcalf faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $100,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for Aug. 2. Metcalf’s release on conditions was continued pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that from Aug. 2, 2023 to Aug. 17, 2023, Metcalf possessed a 20-gauge shotgun within 1,000 feet of Broadwater Elementary School, which is located along Broadwater Avenue, from Fourth Street West to Fifth Street West. Metcalf lives on Broadwater Avenue, directly across from the public school. On Aug. 2, 2023, the Billings Police Department received a call regarding Metcalf pacing around with a firearm in front of his residence. A police detective saw Metcalf walk onto the property of a business that is located next door to Metcalf’s residence. The same day, a woman stepped outside of a nearby residence and saw Metcalf walking up the driveway and coming toward her with firearm slung over his shoulder.

In addition, multiple Billings residents saw Metcalf walking on the 400 block of Broadwater Avenue with a firearm. On Aug. 11, 2023, a resident saw Metcalf standing on the sidewalk and carrying a firearm while staring into traffic and looking directly at Broadwater School. On Aug. 13, another resident saw Metcalf walking westbound on the sidewalk while carrying a firearm, and that same day, another resident saw Metcalf sanding on the edge of the sidewalk in front of his residence with a firearm slung over his shoulder.

On Aug. 17, 2023, law enforcement officers spoke to Metcalf, who admitted to following cars while carrying a firearm, walking to the nearby business and escorting his mother down the street to her shop while carrying a firearm. Metcalf further told officers he patrolled daily and usually went around the block once or twice a week, but that lately he had done it several times a day. Law enforcement served a search warrant at Metcalf’s residence and seized a 20-gauge shotgun and six rounds of ammunition. The shotgun was the firearm Metcalf described as using to patrol. The sidewalks and streets in front of Metcalf’s residence are public property within 1,000 feet from the school and are a “school zone” as defined in federal law.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas A. Godfrey and Zeno B. Baucus are prosecuting the case. The Billings Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.


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