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A man was shot and killed by a deputy early Friday afternoon after he reportedly fired at deputies during a pursuit that stretched from Rapid Valley to New Underwood, officials say. 

The chase ended around 12:15 p.m. when the suspect's vehicle rolled into a ditch on the east side of 161 Avenue just south of the eastbound Exit 78 of Interstate 90 near New Underwood. 

After the vehicle rolled and landed upside down, the suspect exited the vehicle with a weapon, Willy Whelchel, chief deputy at the Pennington County Sheriff's Office, said during a press conference at the scene. Law enforcement then shot the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Whelchel did not have the man's name or any other information about him, and he wasn't sure if the man fired his weapon when he was outside of the car. 

Deputies were near Spade Court in Rapid Valley on Friday looking for an individual and tried to make a traffic stop after finding his vehicle, the sheriff's office wrote on its Facebook page.

At one point, the man stopped his vehicle and ran into a house before getting back inside his car and continuing to flee from police, Whelchel said.

Deputies pursued the man through Rapid Valley and Box Elder and eventually onto I-90, the Facebook post says. 

During the chase, the man was shooting at officers, Whelchel said. A school or schools were placed on secure status — a soft lockdown when outside doors are locked but classes continue — officers on the police scanner said. 

The suspect eventually exited the interstate at New Underwood, where deputies initiated a "tactical vehicle intervention," the Facebook post says. The man then lost control and rolled into the ditch before running out of his car with a rifle. 

Police were directing traffic at the exit and blocked off southbound 161 Avenue, where police tape surrounded part of the road and ditch where the vehicle landed. An upright, unmarked police car was next to the suspect's car after the shooting. More than a dozen vehicles from the sheriff's office and South Dakota Highway Patrol were on scene. 

The suspect had no passengers in the car and no members of law enforcement were shot, Whelchel said. No bystanders were shot either, the Facebook post says. 

Police are collecting evidence at the crash site as well as at the house the man ran into and at the locations where he fired his weapon, Whelchel said. The incident and shooting will be investigated by the Division of Criminal Investigations at the South Dakota Attorney General's Office. 


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

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