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Suspect creates 'one of the largest crime scenes in Rapid City's history,' police chief says
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Suspect creates 'one of the largest crime scenes in Rapid City's history,' police chief says

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A Rapid City man was arrested after he allegedly stole two pickups, broke into three homes and stabbed, assaulted or threatened five people during a nearly hour-long crime spree early Tuesday morning. 

Billy Robertson, 33, was apprehended by police after he drove towards an officer who shot at him multiple times but did not hit him, according to Brendyn Medina, spokesman for the Rapid City Police Department. 

He's booked into jail for aggravated assault against an officer and first-degree robbery, but the department says many more charges are expected as law enforcement and prosecutors continue to investigate. 

“Robertson’s actions have created one of the largest crime scenes in Rapid City’s history,” Interim Police Chief Don Hedrick said in a news release. “His clearly reckless and dangerous behaviors put lives at risk, and I am incredibly thankful that the suspect was apprehended before he could hurt more of our citizens.”

"It was a very chaotic time for patrol," Medina said. "Just as officers were arriving to one crime scene, another was being reported. Only as things progressed did we begin to believe the incidents were related." 

According to the news release: 

  • 4:05 a.m. Robertson was involved in vandalism and a disturbance at a home on the 200 block of Country Road. Robertson was asked to leave but refused and was later given a ride in a Ford-F-150. The driver fled the vehicle after Robertson threatened them with a knife in the area of Curtis Street and Wood Avenue. Robertson then got in the driver's seat and drove away.

  • 4:13 a.m. A 911 caller report that someone driving a Ford F-150 was driving in the grass outside an apartment complex on the 1700 block of North 7th Street. A resident went outside and confronted the suspect who drove away. 
  • 4:15 a.m. Robertson arrived at a home on the 800 block of West Boulevard North, banged on the back door and kicked open two doors to break into the home. He then pulled out a knife and threatened to kill the homeowner. Robertson fled out the back door after the woman's daughter began calling 911. 

  • 4:20 a.m. Robertson arrived at a home on the 2700 block of Minnetonka Drive and banged on the door. The homeowner answered the door and a physical struggle occurred between the homeowner and Robertson. The homeowner was transported to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries after being stabbed. 

  • 4:30 a.m. Robertson entered an unlocked garage at a home on the 2800 block of Country Club Drive. He stole keys to a truck parked inside the garage, got into the truck but then crashed into the Ford F-150 he arrived in. The homeowner woke up from the noise and came outside to try to pull Robertson out of his truck. But Robertson kept driving, dragging the homeowner along the street. The homeowner was eventually able to remove Robertson from the truck, which kept moving down the road until it hit another home on the same block. Robertson then got back into the F-150 and drove away while the homeowner was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

  • 4:40 a.m. Robertson left the roadway along Frontier Drive and began driving across the golf course. An officer in the area for an unrelated call saw the vehicle as it left the golf course near Marco's Pizza on Jackson Boulevard. "The vehicle veered toward the officer creating a life-threatening situation" so officer shot his gun at the vehicle. Robertson was not hit and fled on foot after stopping in the area of Jackson Boulevard and 6th Avenue. Law enforcement created a perimeter around the area and arrested Robertson on the 2000 block of 4th Avenue.

No officers, nor Robertson, were hurt during the incidents, the news release says. Medina said officers are investigating Robertson's motive and whether he was targeting people he knew or just arriving at random homes. He said the officer fired his weapon multiple times at Robertson because Robertson veered toward him and the officer thought he was trying to hit him. 

The investigation into the crime spree is being investigated by the police department and Pennington County Sheriff's Office, the press release said. But the alleged aggravated assault on the police officer will only be investigated by the sheriff's office so it can act as a "neutral third party," Medina said. 

The police department only asks the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation to investigate police use-of-force incidents that cause a serious injury or death, Medina said. Since Robertson was not hit, the use-of-force incident will be reviewed internally by a member of the command team and the officer will not be placed on administrative leave. 

All facts surrounding this incident will be presented to the Pennington County State's Attorney Office for potential charges, Medina said. The office can choose to consult with an outside professional regarding the officer's deadly use-of-force. 

The police department encourages anyone with unreported incidents of damage or other victimization that took place during this time frame to call 605-394-4131

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

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