BOX ELDER | A quick response from local law enforcement rescued a little girl from the home where a man who had shot at Box Elder police had sought refuge.
On Tuesday at around 9:30 a.m., officers with the Box Elder Police Department responded to a report of a man screaming in the 300 block of Ruhe Lane. The officers then made contact with the man, identified as Justin G. Littrell, 31, of Yankton, in the 300 block of Freude Lane. Littrell fired a handgun at an officer, who returned fire, before Littrell fled into a nearby yard on Freude Lane and took two people hostage at gunpoint. As Box Elder Police closed in on the area, the suspect ran away and both hostages escaped.
Littrell then escaped into a house on Freude Lane, but law enforcement agencies on the scene — the Rapid City Police Department, Rapid City Fire Department, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and members of the Rapid City/Pennington County Special Response Team were all present — were unable to determine which, of four suspected Freude Lane homes, Littrell had entered.
As officers worked to determine Littrell’s exact location, an 8- or 9-year-old girl was spotted in the second-story room where Littrell was believed to have hidden. She was promptly coaxed out of a second-story window and brought to safety. No further details of how she escaped or whether Littrell was aware of her presence were made available at the time of publication.
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For the next two hours, law enforcement officers sought to locate Littrell and coax him out of the home without further incident. Special Response Team officers donned in camouflage surrounded the area as rain clouds pushed east and dropped increasingly heavy rains onto the scene. As the rain let up, so too did the standoff.
Three hours after the incident's start, Captain Tony Harrison of the PCSO and deputy commander of the RCPD/PCSO Special Response Team, stood near the southeast corner of Freude Lane and South Ellsworth Road at 12:30 p.m. beneath a clearing sky to announce Littrell had been safely taken into custody. A Special Response Team negotiator was able to convince Littrell to surrender without any further gunshots or injuries, Harrison said.
According to a PCSO release, law officers have recommended charges that could potentially include attempted murder, kidnapping, burglary, aggravated assault and other firearm-related charges. Littrell has outstanding warrants for driving under the influence, second degree burglary, grand theft and is a parole absconder.
An active investigation into the matter is being led by the PCSO and RCPD.