BELLE FOURCHE | Reports of shots fired Tuesday near the South Park Elementary School led to a "soft" lockdown at the school.
It was determined later, however, that a pickup truck that backfired caused the bangs that led to the police response and decision to keep students indoors for the day.
Police Chief Rob Hansen said Wednesday that when word got out about the lockdown after the school day ended, police received a call from a person who said the source of the reported gunshots could have been his truck.
Hansen said his office received several calls of possible gunshots in the area and that he is confident the truck was the culprit.
“The multiple backfires from the vehicle explain why there was no evidence of anyone shooting in the area,” he said.
The police chief said he appreciated the calls from the public.
“I don’t want to discourage anyone from reporting,” he added. “I’d rather be wrong than ignore it.”
The so-called soft lockdown came as officers quickly formed a perimeter around the school and begin a search for the source of the reported shots.
The school's resource office, Katie Allart, remained in the building throughout the lockdown, and the students, who were in kindergarten through fourth grade, were never in danger, Hansen said.
“It was what is called a soft lockdown,” he said. “They continued teaching and stuff.”