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A Pine Ridge man has been charged in a shooting on the reservation that left two people critically injured last month.

Lester Waters Jr. is facing a charge of assault resulting in serious bodily injury, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. Authorities say the shooting occurred at a house party, and he later appeared high on meth. 

Waters hasn’t entered a plea, and will appear at the Rapid City federal courthouse for a preliminary hearing today.

According to an FBI statement filed in court, the shooting happened in the early morning of Jan. 25 at a house outside Pine Ridge Village. Waters attended the party supposedly armed with a 9 mm pistol.

A witness told police the party was underway when she heard gunshots. She saw Waters standing with an arm raised above his head, firing a black handgun.

The bullets reportedly hit two men.

Elgie Iron Bear suffered a spinal injury, which resulted in paralysis. He was being treated in Colorado “and his life may still be in peril due to the injuries Waters inflicted,” FBI Special Agent Matt Weber stated in the document dated Jan. 29.

Another victim, Charles Janis, was injured in the face, which required jaw surgery. Janis' jaw was wired shut and he was being medically sedated.

After Waters was arrested, he supposedly admitted firing at the men. “Waters also stated that he was trying to scare people because he felt people were going after him,” the document reads.

Weber wrote that it was obvious “when watching Waters’ behavior post-arrest that he had previously consumed methamphetamine.”

Two women reportedly told investigators that Waters had offered them meth in exchange for cleaning the house.

Waters is detained at the Pennington Count Jail. His trial has been tentatively scheduled for April 10.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Rapid City Journal from February 2016 to July 2018. Contact her on Facebook or Twitter @tiffgtan.