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Transient pleads not guilty in Billings shooting at Sonic Drive-in

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BILLINGS, Montana — A transient pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges he shot at a Billings fast-food worker during a robbery attempt and at a police officer who responded to the shooting.

Justin Wesley Delacruz entered his plea to two counts of attempted deliberate homicide, along with charges of robbery, criminal endangerment and drug possession, The Billings Gazette (http://bit.ly/1qiyMo5 ) reported.

Delacruz, 38, appeared before District Judge Michael G. Moses via video from the Yellowstone County jail with Assistant Public Defender Clark Matthews. Moses kept Delacruz's bail at $1 million.

According to court records and charging documents, Delacruz demanded money from a Sonic Drive-in employee, fired shots at the employee, and then shot through the windshield of Officer Shane Weinreis' patrol car as he responded. The two men engaged in a shootout that ended when Delacruz's gun jammed and he threw the weapon, court records said. Weinreis tackled Delacruz and took him into custody.

The shootout was captured on the patrol car's on-board camera, charging documents said.

"Our investigation revealed that Delacruz had been partying for several days, drinking heavily and smoking PCP-laced cigarettes, and he had meth in his possession," Police Chief Rich St. John said.

Prosecutors requested the $1 million bail because Delacruz is a transient with no ties to Billings and several criminal convictions in California, including DUI and possession of PCP for sale.

Shortly after his arrest, Delacruz told an investigator he had smoked some PCP and "hadn't been right since," court records said.


Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

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