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Disagreement over noise preceded fatal shooting, officials say

by DERRICK PERKINS
Hagadone News Network | February 1, 2023 1:00 AM

The victim of Tuesday’s shooting in Whitefish died from a bullet to the head after a disagreement over noise escalated, according to newly-filed court documents.

Steven Justin Hedrick, 32, remains in the county jail on a felony deliberate homicide charge following his arrest in connection with the early morning Jan. 24 killing. An affidavit filed in Flathead County District Court on Jan. 25 indicated that Hedrick stayed on scene at the U.S. 93 South extended stay hotel and identified himself as the shooter to arriving Whitefish Police officers.

Investigators determined Hedrick lived on the first floor of the building while the victim, identified only by his initials, had lived down the hall with a girlfriend. According to court documents, the victim moved upstairs after a break up earlier in the week. On the night of the shooting, he stood outside his former home, banging on the door and yelling for his ex-girlfriend.

Hedrick allegedly confronted the victim over the noise at the early hour. Another resident threatened to call the police, according to court documents. The victim left and the hallway quieted.

Returning to his bed after smoking a cigarette, Hedrick heard knocking again, albeit at a lower noise level, court documents said. Hedrick allegedly retrieved a silver revolver and placed it on a nearby counter before opening the door.

Hedrick then confronted the victim again, court documents said. This time the victim yelled and “postured” at Hedrick, according to court documents.

Hedrick, who allegedly told authorities he “just had [the gun] there for a show of strength,” raised the revolver, court documents said. He pulled the hammer back and aimed it at the victim’s head, according to court documents.

The victim neared Hedrick and allegedly put a hand on the barrel before the gun went off, sending a bullet through his mouth, court documents said.

According to the affidavit, police officers received word of a shooting about 1:27 a.m. They found Hedrick, who was using crutches, along with several other people outside the building. Hedrick allegedly raised his hand when police asked for a suspect.

Officers found the victim, already dead, on his back on the floor of the first floor hallway, court documents said.

A court date has not yet been scheduled for Hedrick.