Survivor recalls horrific shooting, unaware parents are dead

This undated booking photo provided by the Park County, Wyoming, Sheriff’s Office shows Jesus Deniz Mendoza (A.K.A Jesus Deniz), age 18 of Worland, Wyo. suspected of shooting a family in Montana. The FBI confirmed two people were killed and a third injured Wednesday, July 29, near the town of Pryor on Montana's Crow Indian Reservation. (Park County, Wyoming, Sheriff’s Office via AP)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Bullets whizzed past a woman's head as she fled from an 18-year-old gunman who had posed as a stranded motorist to convince her family to help him on the roadside of a Montana Indian reservation, the woman recounted to relatives.

The man claimed he had run out of gas, then pulled a gun, demanded money and opened fire when Jorah Shane followed her mother's order to run, Ada Shane said, relaying the story as told to her by her wounded niece.

The relatives listened to Jorah Shane's story, made sure the television in her hospital room was kept off, and struggled with how to tell her that the man had killed her mother and father in Wednesday's shooting, Ada Shane told The Associated Press Thursday.

Jorah Shane, 26, did not know her parents' fate before she went into surgery Wednesday night for the bullet lodged in her spine.

"Last night before she went in, she told everyone to go look for her mom, she's hiding in the field," Ada Shane said.

Jorah Shane was recovering in a Billings hospital Thursday, while the suspect in the shooting, Jesus Deniz, also known as Jesus Deniz Mendoza, 18, waited in a Wyoming jail cell for extradition proceedings to begin.

Police arrested the Worland, Wyoming, man Wednesday morning near Meeteetse, about 120 miles away from Pryor, the small town on the Crow Indian Reservation where the shooting happened.

In an interview with two FBI agents on Wednesday, Deniz admitted to shooting three people with a .22 caliber rifle and then driving away in their car, a court statement filed by FBI Special Agent Larry McGrail II said.

"Deniz told the interviewing agents that he shot the victims because he was getting tired of waiting around, and because the daughter had laughed at him," the statement said.

McGrail's statement was filed in U.S. District Court with a criminal complaint seeking a murder warrant for Jesus Deniz. A judge's signed warrant would begin the process of returning Deniz to Montana to face charges in the shooting.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby scheduled a Friday afternoon initial court hearing in Billings.

FBI spokesman Todd Palmer confirmed Jason Shane, 51, and Tana Shane, 47, were killed in the shooting, but would not identify Jorah Shane as the wounded person, saying the FBI does not provide information about potential witnesses.

McGrail's statement largely confirmed the account of events that Ada Shane told the AP, though it did not name the victims.

On Wednesday morning, Tana Shane drove by a young man who said he had run out of gas on the road less than 50 yards from her home, Ada Shane said.

"Both my brother and sister-in-law have big hearts," Ada Shane said. "They're always helping someone else."

Tana Shane went by her house, picked up her husband and daughter and drove back to the stranded car, Ada Shane said.

The man pulled a gun and pointed it at Jason Shane's head. He ordered everybody to get out of the car, Ada Shane said.

He told the family to give him their money, but the family said they had only change because they recently returned from a religious revival in Window Rock, Arizona.

The man told them to start walking. Tana Shane told her daughter in their Native American language to run.

Jorah Shane told her aunt that she heard a shot, started running, then heard bullets pass close to her head. McGrail's statement said the daughter heard her mother scream, felt blood running down her face and then a bullet hit her back.

She yelled and caught the attention of people near St. Charles Mission School, according to the FBI statement. A car approached her and she jumped in when the driver got out. She drove away still hearing gunshots, and relatives took her to a hospital, the statement said.

A bullet grazed Jorah Shane's head and she had a gunshot wound to the back. Ada Shane said she didn't know how to tell her niece that her close-knit family was gone.

"Jorah is one always attached to her parents," the aunt said. "She's always with her parents and her grandmother."

It is not clear whether Deniz has an attorney. Messages left on two phone numbers listed under Mendoza's name were not returned.


Associated Press researchers Rhonda Shafner and Adriana Mark contributed to this report.