A routine welfare check turned deadly Thursday afternoon when a nearly four-hour standoff between authorities and an armed man barricaded in a Rapid City apartment ended with the man shot dead.
The man's name was not released, pending notification of family.
The incident began around 1:30 p.m. at the Harmony Heights apartment complex, 1751 Harmony Heights Lane, on the city's north side. An officer with the Rapid City Police Department responded to a call from a resident requesting a welfare check, according to a news release.
The man who requested the check pointed a pistol at the officer, who then retreated from the apartment and called for backup, the release said.
The man locked the door and barricaded himself inside the apartment. Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies arrived on scene and began talking with the man, who continued to wave a pistol outside his window and refused to comply with officers, the release said.
His actions posed "a threat to the community," Asst. Chief Don Hedrick said.
The Rapid City/Pennington County Special Response Team use a specialized armored vehicle known as Bearcat to approach the apartment. At around 5 p.m., as they got closer, one of the team members saw the man point his pistol at law enforcement officers through a window and fired several shots at the man, the release said.
"Tragedy for our community," Hedrick said. "It’s a very sad day.”
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“We did our best to remain in constant contact with this individual throughout this incident,” Capt. James Johns, commander of the SRT, said in the release. “This individual was well aware that his actions were what controlled the outcome of this event. This is never the resolution we want, but our top priority will always be the safety of the public, and the safety of our first responders.”
After the shooting, a Rapid City Fire Department ambulance slowly pulled up to the scene, drove past the yellow police tape and disappeared behind another building. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, the release said.
Nearly 20 SRT officers, including a sniper, then began leaving the building with guns in hand. Authorities from several other agencies provided assistance, including the South Dakota Highway Patrol and Pennington County Sheriff’s Office.
The SRT member who killed the man is a Highway Patrol trooper, the release said. His name was not released.
Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Willie Whelchel said the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation would take over the investigation.
This is the first known fatal officer-involved shooting of the year in Rapid City.
Last year, there were two officer-involved shootings in the area. On Feb. 26, 2016, a Pennington County sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a man following a traffic stop in Rapid Valley. Two days later, a Rapid City police officer shot to death a man who had fired at residents of a local homeless shelter.
Both shootings were later ruled as justified by the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, which investigated the incidents.