America's Wild West Served With Lawsuit

Billings bar with history of violence sued by family of homicide victim

America's Wild West Served With Lawsuit
Billings police investigate a homicide outside America's Wild West on Southgate Drive Sunday morning. At 1:40 a.m. a man was shot following a disturbance and transported to a local hospital. The shooter was identified and located before being arrested and charged with deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence, according to a social media post from the police department. / Photo by Larry Mayer, Billings Gazette

The family of Beau Beaumont has sued the owners of the Billings nightclub where he was killed on Feb. 12.

Beaumont was shot in the parking lot of America’s Wild West at 4910 Southgate Drive and later died at a nearby hospital.

It was the second homicide at the nightclub in less than a year.

Police have charged 18-year-old Xavier Buffalo in the most recent fatal shooting. Buffalo has been jailed with a bond set at $250,000.

Beaumont’s family is being represented by AVA Law Group, a national personal injury law firm.

Beau Harlan Beaumont, 21, died after being shot outside of America's Wild West in Billings on Feb. 12. / Image courtesy of the family of Beau Harlan Beaumont
Beau Harlan Beaumont, 21, died after being shot outside of America's Wild West in Billings on Feb. 12. / Image courtesy of the family of Beau Harlan Beaumont

The lawsuit alleges that America’s Wild West violated the law by serving alcohol to the teenage Buffalo on the night Beaumont was killed.

The nightclub also violated several duties “that all tavern owners owe to their patrons,” the suit continues. Those duties include the responsibility to provide adequate staff to safely police the premises, the duty to not tolerate “disorderly conditions,” the duty to stop fights, and the duty to protect patrons from others with a known propensity for causing harm, the suit states.

"Beau’s death is a tragedy that never should have happened,” said AVA's attorney Teague Westrope. “Xavier Buffalo pulled the trigger, but he is not the only one who bears responsibility for Beaumont’s death.”

After about 10:30 p.m. on the night of the homicide, bouncers in the bar broke up a fight between Beaumont and Buffalo.

“Bouncers removed Buffalo from the nightclub but did not escort him off the premises,” the suit alleges.

When Beaumont soon after left the bar, he was jumped by Buffalo, who allegedly shot him and then ran away. Police found Beaumont “rolling on the ground and moaning.” He died about 30 minutes later in the hospital.

Xavier Buffalo, 18, was charged with deliberate homicide in connection to the death of a Billings man outside of a local night club Feb. 14. / Image courtesy of Yellowstone County Detention Facility
Xavier Buffalo, 18, was charged with deliberate homicide in connection to the death of a Billings man outside of a local night club Feb. 14. / Image courtesy of Yellowstone County Detention Facility

Among the allegations in the lawsuit is that America’s Wild West is a notoriously violent bar and should have increased security.

“Recent media reporting has made clear that the owners of America’s Wild West have known for quite some time that the bar and dance club is a magnet for violence,” the attorney Westrope said in a press release. “Yet, they seemingly have made little to no effort to have security patrol the parking lot.”

In the 14 months between Jan. 1, 2022 and Beaumont’s death this February, Billings Police responded to at least 194 incidents at America’s Wild West, including the two homicides, a shooting, nine weapons complaints, 11 assaults and 32 disturbances, KUTV has reported.

In April of last year, a 29-year-old man died after being shot in the Wild West parking lot. The suspect in that shooting was 19 years old.

As recently as last Saturday, Billings police arrested a man who allegedly started striking officers in the parking lot of Wild West. Brock Alan Fredrick Hammons, who was underage at the time of his arrest, has been charged with two counts of assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, obstructing a peace officer and possessing intoxicating substances while underage.

Hammons pleaded not guilty to all counts in Yellowstone County District Court on Tuesday. Police “were in the parking lot special detail conducting compliance checks … due to recent issues at the establishment involving loitering, trespassing, and under-aged drinking,” court documents said.

Hammons allegedly walked out of Wild West while under the influence of alcohol after police saw containers of alcohol in his vehicle.

He was carrying two bags when he approached police, according to court documents, and told officers there was a gun in one of the bags. Police demanded that he hand over the bag, and a melee ensued.

Hammons allegedly resisted arrest, and kicked two of the officers who managed to get him into the back of a patrol vehicle. Inside the bag, officers allegedly found a loaded handgun.

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