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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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Attorney General, DCI Rule Rapid City Police Officer Shooting Justified

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023

CONTACT: Tony Mangan, Communications Director, 605-773-6878

PIERRE, S.D. -- South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says a Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) review indicates a Rapid City Police officer was justified in the shooting death of a man who pointed a gun at the officer and appeared to pull the trigger during an incident on Jan. 18, 2023.

“Video from the officer’s body-worn camera, along with other collected evidence, indicates that the officer verbally commanded the suspect to stop, and the suspect did not comply,” said Attorney General Jackley. “Only when the suspect pointed a gun at the officer, did the officer fire their weapon.”

The incident began when officers were at the apartment complex looking for another individual. An officer heard a woman scream and thought an assault had occurred. The officer noticed Ira Julian Wright outside of the apartment building carrying a backpack. The officer attempted to make contact with Wright, who fled from the officer, discarded the backpack, and ran into a second building. The officer deployed a Taser on Wright, but the Taser had no effect.

Wright ran up one flight of stairs and as he continued to run up a second flight of stairs, Wright turned toward the officer and pointed a .22 Magnum revolver at the officer. The officer returned fire, hitting Wright, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The officer was not hurt.

Video and audio recordings, interviews of officers and witnesses, and examination of evidence by the South Dakota Forensic Laboratory corroborated the findings of DCI investigators and the officer’s account that they faced a clear, life-threatening danger.

The Attorney General and the Division of Criminal Investigation would like to thank the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Meade County Sheriff’s Office, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office and the South Dakota Forensic Laboratory for their assistance. The Rapid City Police Department cooperated with the investigation.

The summary of the incident can be found here.