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The wife of a Pine Ridge police officer has been charged in his fatal shooting over the weekend.

Tiffany Janis was charged Monday with second-degree murder in the death of Oglala Sioux tribal police officer Brian Garrett, according to federal court documents. The offense is punishable by up to life in prison.

Investigators say Garrett, 52, suffered a gunshot on his chest following an argument with Janis at their home near Kyle early Saturday morning. He was a member of the tribe's Department of Public Safety but was off duty at that time.

Janis made her initial appearance at the Rapid City federal courthouse on Wednesday afternoon, when she was informed of the penalties associated with her charge. She wasn’t asked to enter a plea. She also was appointed a lawyer from the Federal Public Defender’s Office.

Tribal police earlier said the shooting suspect was arrested at the scene but didn’t identify the person.

According to an FBI affidavit filed in court, Janis called tribal police shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday to report that she had shot her husband.

“Law enforcement arrived on scene and observed Garrett with one gunshot wound to his upper left nipple,” the sworn statement reads. Janis and a female cousin of hers and two children were also present. The women were arrested for intoxication, and Janis for domestic violence as well.

Janis reportedly told investigators from the FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs that Garrett had kicked her out of the house after they got into an argument. The document doesn't include any details of the argument.

Janis said she got into her truck, started it up, then decided she was going to shoot Garrett, according to the document. She grabbed her gun from the truck, chambered a round and headed back to the house.

She had “second thoughts” before re-entering the house, Janis said. Once she came in through the back door, she saw her cousin and Garrett having sex — a statement that investigators said was corroborated by the cousin.

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Janis said Garrett got up, confronted her and “roughed her up,” the affidavit reads. “Tiffany then retrieved her gun from her coat pocket and shot Garrett once in the chest.”

She then performed CPR on her husband before emergency responders arrived.

Her lawyer, Erin Bolinger, declined to comment when asked about Janis’ statements to law enforcement.

Garrett was declared dead after being transported on a medical helicopter, tribal police said. His killing is believed to be the first homicide on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation this year.

Janis, who has two children with Garrett, is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing next Friday. She is detained at the Pennington County Jail.

Garrett worked at the public safety department for more than 10 years, according to the department’s official Facebook page. It said a funeral will be held at noon Monday at the Little Wound School in Kyle, followed by burial at Garrett's residence. 

Contact Tiffany Tan at

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Rapid City Journal