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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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Attorney General Jackley, DCI Rule Highway Patrol Trooper Shooting Justified

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, Sept. 8, 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 South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper was justified in shooting a man who fired a gun at the officer during an incident on Aug. 9, 2023 in Sturgis. The suspect sustained serious non-life threatening injuries.

“This was a tense incident where the suspect, who had a criminal background of violent behavior, fired a gun at the Trooper and then tried to flee in the Trooper’s Patrol vehicle,” said Attorney General Jackley. “Evidence collected at the scene, witness statements, and a review of the video compiled from several sources indicate that the Trooper was justified in using lethal force.”

The incident began on Aug. 9 when a South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper, driving east on Dickson Drive in Sturgis, identified Wyatt James Fluty walking southbound on Junction Avenue. Fluty was an alleged suspect in a stolen vehicle case that occurred July 27 in Wyoming and an armed robbery that was reported Aug. 7 in Pennington County. On Aug. 8. Fluty had fled from a motorist assist stop conducted by the Highway Patrol that had occurred in rural Meade County.

After identifying Fluty, the Trooper got out of their vehicle, drew their firearm and verbally engaged Fluty. The suspect fled and ran into a ditch. The trooper pursued the suspect and unsuccessful deployed their taser. Fluty produced a handgun from his waistband and fired at the Trooper who fell to the ground to avoid being shot. Fluty also fired at the Trooper while they were on the ground.

Fluty ran to the Trooper’s unsecured patrol vehicle and gained access through the driver’s side door. An out-of-state Off-Duty Deputy, who witnessed the shooting from a nearby convenience store, ran to the Trooper’s assistance. The Trooper and Off-Duty Deputy fired several rounds into the vehicle, striking Fluty.

The two officers stopped firing when Fluty surrendered his weapon. Life-saving measures were started on Fluty, and he was transported to the Sturgis hospital. No one else was injured.

Test results indicated methamphetamine was found in Fluty’s system. The Trooper and Off-Duty Deputy tested negative for both drugs and alcohol.

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

Criminal charges are pending against Fluty and he is presumed innocent under the U.S. Constitution.

The summary report can be found here.