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Rapid City standoff ends; 2-year-old hostage unharmed

RAPID CITY (AP) — A standoff between law enforcement officials and a burglary suspect who took a 2-year-old boy hostage in Rapid City ended after officers forced entry into a home and rescued the child, police said.

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Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris said the standoff ended late Tuesday after more than 6 hours, with the suspect taken into custody. No officers were injured, and the child was returned unharmed to his family.

The police department said earlier Tuesday that officers were initially called around 4 p.m. to a burglary in progress. The suspect fled and ran into a nearby home.

Several adults and children were able to get out of the home, but the suspect took the boy hostage, police said in a news release.

Rapid City Police spokeswoman Tarah Huepel said the suspect did not know the child.

Authorities had on-and-off communication with the suspect during the standoff and evacuated several nearby houses, Jegeris said. Initial reports indicated he had a firearm, according to the release.

Around 10:30 p.m., a special response team forced entry to the home and rescued the child.

The release said the team used distraction devices and door-breach rounds, but no shots were fired.

Police identified the suspect late Tuesday as a 32-year-old man from Rapid City. He was arrested on suspicion of second-degree kidnapping, second-degree burglary and two outstanding warrants.

Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom said during a news conference Tuesday night that the suspect had two active felony warrants prior to the incident.

The child and his family members were not immediately identified.

The Rapid City Journal reported that more than 30 members of the special response team, the Sheriff's Office, the South Dakota Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies were on the scene. Many were clad in body armor and armed with assault weapons.

Armored vehicles at one point towed vehicles away and pulled out fences as negotiations were continuing.

"There were a lot of intense moments tonight," Jegeris said, adding that, "We are extremely thankful that the child is safe and has been returned to his mother."