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Prosecutor dismisses gun charge against former Aurora County deputy citing ‘questionable evidence’

After Aronov questioned the integrity of the evidence against him, the Hanson County State’s Attorney dismissed the misdemeanor charge entirely.

Hanson County Courthouse.jpg
The Hanson County Courthouse in Alexandria.
Mitchell Republic file photo
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ALEXANDRIA, S.D. — A misdemeanor gun charge filed against a now-former Aurora County sheriff’s deputy has been dismissed after questions into the integrity of the evidence were lobbied.

Anthony Aronov, 27, of Plankinton, was charged in mid-October with one count of reckless discharge of a firearm after he shot and killed a dog at his girlfriend’s home in rural Alexandria in mid-October. On Nov. 9, Hanson County State’s Attorney Jim Davies filed a motion to dismiss the charge due to “questionable evidence.”

While Aronov doesn’t dispute the shooting of the dog, he does contest certain statements describing the chain of events leading up to and following the shooting.

In an affidavit filed Oct. 17, Hanson County sheriff’s deputy Jorden Johnson wrote that a minor witness at the residence had stated that the dog had “started barking at [Aronov] and coming toward him.” The witness claimed that the dog had then “turned and walked away” from Aronov before he began shooting in the direction of the juvenile.

In a Nov. 10 phone call, Aronov told the Mitchell Republic that he had fired three to five shots at the dog, two of which struck the animal’s front side. Johnson’s affidavit furthers that the witness stated shots were fired in the witness’ direction. Aronov disputed that claim, adding that the backdrop to the scene of the shooting was a corn field and line of trees.

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“I’m a federally-licensed firearm dealer and manufacturer and importer. I’ve been working with firearms for many years of my life. I’m very knowledgeable and skilled with firearms,” Aronov said. “I know there’s no chance I could’ve possibly shot toward the kid.”

Both Aronov and Johnson’s court filing concur that, following the shooting, Aronov left the scene and reported the shooting to Hanson County authorities himself.

“I apologized for what happened, went off to my car and immediately drove away,” Aronov said. “Two or three minutes after driving away, I felt comfortable enough to pull over and notify law enforcement.”

Hanson County State’s Attorney Jim Davies declined to elaborate on what evidence he questioned in the case. Sheriff Brandon Wingert was not immediately available for comment on his department’s investigation.

Aronov told the Mitchell Republic he was terminated from his position as an Aurora County sheriff’s deputy roughly two-and-a-half weeks after he began the job. He said that since the charge had been dismissed, Aurora County Sheriff Roman Briggs declined to re-hire him. Briggs did not return a call to his office regarding Aronov’s employment.

However, Aronov, originally from California, said that he’s always wanted to work in law enforcement, and moved from Sioux City, Iowa, to Plankinton to serve as a deputy in Aurora County. Now, he plans to explore openings in other parts of the state.

“Being a street cop is all I’ve ever wanted to do. You couldn’t imagine how happy I was [to become a cop],” Aronov said. “This is exactly what I want in life, getting to put on a vest and go out and help people. … I can’t replace what I’ve done, but I want to go back to being a law enforcement officer at all costs.”

The Aurora County Sheriff's Office is currently operating short-handed after another deputy, David Suarez, was terminated in July after being charged with possession of child pornography . He's since pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to stand trial Dec. 12.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSSHOOTINGS
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 local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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