Jury convicts Lame Deer man of assault, firearms crimes after high-speed chase and shootout with federal officers
Note: A trial exhibit of dashcam video of chase can be viewed here.
BILLINGS — A federal jury convicted a Lame Deer man today of multiple assault and firearms crimes after he led law enforcement on a high-speed chase on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and was wounded in a shootout when he shot at officers, who returned fire, said Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson.
The jury found Antoine Robert Threefingers, 37, guilty of assault on a federal officer, assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
Threefingers faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the assault on federal officer crime and a mandatory minimum of ten years to life imprisonment consecutive to any other sentence on possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
The five-day trial began on Sept. 13.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. Judge Watters set sentencing for February 10, 2022 and ordered Threefingers detained.
“The jury rightly rejected Mr. Threefinger’s defense that he was not responsible because he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Officers’ dashcam video captured a harrowing, high-speed chase of up to 120 mph on a highway and on dirt roads that ended in a shootout. It’s a miracle that nobody got killed. I want to thank all of the federal and state law enforcement officers who placed themselves directly in harm’s way and took extraordinary steps to protect the public by safely ending this incident. I also want to thank the entire trial team for putting forward a compelling case against Threefingers,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Johnson.
“Thankfully, no officers or innocent bystanders were hurt when Antoine Threefingers made such a reckless and violent attempt to evade the law, but he will now face the consequences for his crimes,” said Dennis Rice, Special Agent in Charge of the Salt Lake City FBI. “The officers involved put their lives on the line. Rest assured, the FBI and our law enforcement partners will make every effort to keep our communities safe from those who have a blatant disregard for human life.”
In court documents and at trial, the government presented evidence alleging that on Sept. 1, 2020, Threefingers was involved in a high-speed chase on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation that ended in shootout with law enforcement officers in a field near Birney. A Bureau of Indian Affairs police officer, identified as John Doe 1, attempted a routine traffic stop of Threefingers. Threefingers stopped initially but then fled as Doe 1 approached, engaging officers in a pursuit in which speeds exceeded 100 miles per hour and lasted about 20 minutes. Four more officers, including three BIA officers and a Rosebud County Sheriff’s deputy, joined the chase.
As he was driving, Threefingers pulled out a gun and put it to his head before turning the gun on law enforcement. Threefingers pointed his gun out the window, fired a shot at Doe 1 and continued driving. Threefingers eventually led law enforcement to a dirt road near Birney, where he stopped his vehicle and exchanged gunfire with Doe 1. Another BIA officer later exchanged gun fire with Threefingers. Other officers nearby described Threefingers’ shots sailing over their heads but did not fire at Threefingers.
Threefingers attempted to run from his car while continuing to shoot at law enforcement. Officers shot Threefingers, who fell to the ground and continued firing at law enforcement. Threefingers shot at Doe 1, hitting his windshield with a bullet less than a foot from the officer’s head. The officers approached Threefingers, detained him and administered medical care. He was transported to the hospital. Law enforcement recovered a Colt .45-caliber pistol on the ground near Threefingers. Multiple .45-caliber casings were recovered near Threefingers and from his car. Several rounds of .45 ammunition were also found in his car.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bryan T. Dake and Benjamin D. Hargrove are prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI.