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Attorney General Mark Vargo

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Attorney General, DCI Release Rapid City Police Department Officer Involved Shooting Summary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, July 26, 2022                                                                                CONTACT:  Tony Mangan, 605-773-6196

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Mark Vargo and the Division of Criminal Investigation Friday released the summary of the officer involved shooting of Shania Watkins, 32, of Rapid City by a Rapid City Police Department (RCPD) officer on May 31, 2022 in Rapid City. The report found that the officer involved in the shooting was justified in using lethal force.

“The Division of Criminal Investigation conducted an independent, thorough and complete investigation into this incident at the request of the Rapid City Police Department (RCPD),” Vargo said. “Minnehaha County State’s Attorney Daniel Haggar was the reviewer of this incident and deemed the application and use of force was justified in this tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving situation.”

The May 31 incident began at 4:04 a.m. when a RCPD officer tried to make a traffic stop on a Mitsubishi Galant near the intersection of North Lacrosse Street and East Waterloo Street. The vehicle failed to pull over and the pursuit began. While the vehicle traveled slowly on East Waterloo Street, an unknown passenger exited the vehicle.

Other RCPD units joined the pursuit as the vehicle traveled through Rapid City with speeds reaching 65 miles per hour. The vehicle eventually turned onto Terra Court and stopped in a position perpendicular in the roadway. A RCPD officer pulled the front of their patrol vehicle up to the passenger side of the Galant. The officer exited their vehicle and began issuing commands to Shania Watkins, who was the driver and only occupant of the Galant.

The Galant began backing up and collided with the front end of the officer’s patrol vehicle. The officer fired seven rounds through the passenger’s front door and window of the Galant. The Galant also collided with a second RCPD vehicle that had been parked parallel to the first police vehicle. The second collision caused the Galant to come to a complete stop.

Watkins suffered multiple gunshot wounds. She was taken to a Rapid City hospital for treatment of her wounds.

Vargo said the Attorney General’s Office also has reviewed the incident for criminal charges and Watkins has been charged with aggravated eluding. Vargo says that further charges may be considered now that the investigation is complete. Watkins is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The Division of Criminal Investigation would like to thank the Rapid City Police Department, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and Minnehaha County State’s Attorney for their service and cooperation during the investigation.

The summary can be read here. Overhead photos of the Galant and two RCPD police vehicles at the end of the incident can be found here.

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