Cops stun Mitchell man after he held loaded firearm to attacker’s head, court documents say

Gakin faces a Class 3 felony for his alleged use of the firearm.

Mitchell Police 2021 #2.jpg
The Mitchell Police Division is a part of the Mitchell Department of Public Safety. (Hunter Dunteman / Republic)

Two Mitchell men are facing charges after an assault victim refused commands to stay inside and ultimately held a loaded gun to his attacker’s head.

Curtis Gakin, 55, of Mitchell, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, obstructing a law enforcement officer and possession of a firearm while intoxicated.

Shortly before 4 a.m. on Oct. 24, police in Mitchell were called to the 100 block of north Foster Avenue for a report of an assault.

Upon arrival, they identified Gakin, whose face was swollen and bloodied, as the victim of an assault.

Authorities say Gakin was “very intoxicated,” emanating an odor of alcohol and slurring his words. He told officers he had been drinking in the night and morning hours. Gakin was upset, and told police that Tristan Yellow Horse, 35, of Oglala, had punched him twice in the face.


As Gakin allegedly tried picking up weapons — including a saw blade and a stick — officers repeatedly ordered Gakin to drop the weapons and remain inside while they sought the suspect, but Gakin allegedly threatened to kill Yellow Horse if he was able to locate him first.

Shortly after authorities began the search, dispatch advised them that Yellow Horse was spotted hiding in the trees at the property where the alleged assault took place. When they returned a female bystander told police that “he” might have a gun.

Unsure of who the woman was referring to, police found Gakin allegedly standing over Yellow Horse, holding a firearm to his head.

“I told Gakin to drop the firearm, in which he did not,” the arresting officer wrote in an affidavit. “I then ran toward Gakin and attempted to gain control of the firearm. A brief scuffle ensued between Gakin and I for control of the firearm.”

Gakin allegedly pulled away from officers, at which point he was tased, causing the firearm to fall to the ground.

After Gakin was placed into custody, authorities say the firearm was loaded, but appeared to be jammed with one live round in the chamber and another live round in the ejection port. He was taken to the Davison County Jail.

Gakin opted to press charges against Yellow Horse for the alleged assault, but Yellow Horse refused to discuss the situation with authorities.

Based on Gakin’s injuries and statements, Yellow Horse was arrested and charged with simple assault.


Gakin faces a Class 3 felony for his alleged use of the firearm, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a $30,000 fine or both. His original initial appearance on Oct. 26 was cancelled for an unspecified reason, but he’s due in a Davison County Courtroom for a makeup hearing on Nov. 11.

Yellow Horse faces a Class 1 misdemeanor for the alleged assault, and could be jailed for up to one year, plus ordered to pay a $2,000 fine. He’s due in a Davison County Courtroom on Nov. 12 for a status hearing.

Yellow Horse also has a current arrest warrant issued in Hughes County for an aggravated assault.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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