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Courts

All charges have been dropped against a man accused of arson in a Rapid City apartment fire last month. 

Konajin Black Elk was arrested Oct. 1 after police said he was wanted for purposely starting a fire inside a bedroom at 906 Explorer Street around 1 a.m. on Sept. 27.

Prosecutors charged him with first-degree arson and another crime but filed a document Tuesday that dismissed both charges in the "best interest of justice."

Pennington County State's Attorney Mark Vargo did not return messages Thursday asking why the charges had been dropped.

Court documents spell Black Elk's first name as Konajin while the Rapid City Police Department referred to him as Konacin in their press releases.

Officers were already at the Explorer Street apartment responding to a "disturbance" when the fire broke out, the department said in a previous news release. Police spokesman Brendyn Medina told the Journal that Black Elk, a 27-year-old from Rapid City, was inside the apartment when smoke was first seen coming from it and evidence pointed to him setting the fire. He said he could not yet share what pointed to arson or to Black Elk as a suspect.

The fire was extinguished by firefighters and the sprinkler system, and no one was injured. But it caused evacuations and temporarily displaced residents of one apartment.

Sprinkler systems have helped put out fires in Rapid City six times this year, according to the fire department. Four of the incidents happened in apartment buildings, one was at a correctional facility and one was at a large commercial building.

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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