Billings neighborhood in uproar after police find suspect in garage

Billings police arrested a man early Sunday morning on multiple felonies after finding him barricaded in an innocent family’s garage.

According to Lt. Matt Lennick, police first responded to a call Sunday morning that a suspect had broken into a business in the 2000 block of Broadwater Avenue and fled the scene.

The suspect, Nicholas Pearson, 25, was pursued by police on foot before they found him in a garage in an alley between Hewitt Drive and Fox Road. Pearson found the garage unlocked and hid inside while police searched the area.

The garage belonged to Hunter Morse, who has no connection with the suspect but was awakened by Billings police around 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

“I woke up with ‘Billings Police, identify you,'” Morse said Monday afternoon. “I really thought it was a joke. I was so surprised by the damn ARs (rifles) pointed at me.”

Morse said it all happened quickly.

“They just started searching the whole house and I was like, ‘Oh my God. What is really going on here?'” Morse said.

Morse wasn’t the only one who was woken up and confused by the commotion. His neighbor Taylor Collis, who lives across the alley behind his house, said she saw the whole thing on her security camera while driving to work.

“There were police officers loading their guns, putting on body armor and shields,” Collis said. “It was just crazy to see it live because I thought to myself, ‘We’re in an apartment building. I don’t want anything to happen to them.’ Or to my children if it hadn’t been peaceful.”

When police searched Morse’s home, he heard them say the garage behind his house was locked. This piece of evidence made him realize that the suspect must be hiding there.

“I’ve lived here 22 years and I don’t know if that garage door has ever been locked in my entire life,” Morse said. “I told them he’s 100% in there.”

Police found Pearson hiding inside and arrested him. He faces two counts of burglary, criminal damage, obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest, according to police.

He was booked into the Yellowstone County Jail on Monday afternoon.

It was a shocking start to Sunday for them, in an area that Collis said is normally peaceful.

“I always read about it on the news and everywhere, but it was never like I was the one witnessing it,” Collis said. “There was definitely a ‘what’s next?’ We need to step up our security to make sure our kids are OK.”

Morse added that after his crazy morning, he was glad everyone involved was OK.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this before, but I’m just glad no one was seriously hurt or anything,” Morse said.