BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A man killed during an armed confrontation with police in a Montana hotel had stopped taking medications needed for his mental illness and may have been on illegal drugs, according to the man's mother, who said she does not hold police responsible for his death.
Authorities on Friday identified Kyle Killough, 32, of Gillette, Wyoming, as the man shot three times in the chest by a Billings police officer following a 25-minute standoff at a Days Inn.
Killough's mother, Jan Urioste, told The Associated Press that she blamed his death on mental illness and possible drug use.
"We in no way hold the police responsible," Urioste said in a phone interview from her home in New Mexico. "I very much regret that my sick son put the officers in that position. This is not a statistic of another police officer shooting. Kyle is a statistic of mental illness... Thank God no one else was hurt."
Urioste had talked to her son by phone in the days leading up to Thursday's confrontation and discovered that he quit taking his medicines. He had a history of using illegal drugs and alcohol to cope with his illness, which Urioste declined to specify.
Another of Urioste's sons is a former police officer. She said the family appreciated the efforts made by authorities to resolve the confrontation without violence.
Killough was described by his mother as highly intelligent and an excellent worker as long as he had his mental illness under control. He was passionate about American history and had missed his calling to be a teacher, she said.
Instead, he left high school early and worked for a railroad services company in New Mexico. He transferred up to Wyoming three years ago but ended up taking a job with another company, she said.
It was unclear why or how long he had been staying at the Days Inn in Billings at the time of his death.
Killough entered the clerk's office at the hotel before dawn Thursday with a handgun, according to Billings police. Both the clerk and officers said he was acting strangely and saying things that didn't make sense, the police said.
When officers arrived, they say Killough refused repeated orders to drop the weapon. He was shot three times after turning toward officers with the gun.
He died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest, Yellowstone County Deputy Coroner Cliff Mahoney said Friday
Killough was shot by Officer David Raschkow, who's been with the Billings Police Department for seven years, according to Police Chief Rich St. John. Raschkow is on paid leave pending an investigation to be led by the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office.
Killough was the seventh person fatally shot by law enforcement officers since 2012 in Billings, home to about 110,000 people.
All the prior shootings were ruled justified by official reviews. In five of the cases, autopsies found methamphetamine in the victims' bodies. The sixth person had escaped from Montana State Prison days before he was shot.
Associated Press news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.