ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Sioux Falls Police shoot at suspect who produced modified shotgun, no gunshot wounds reported

The officer-involved shooting is the fourth at the hands of the Sioux Falls Police Department this year.

Sioux Falls Police.jpg
We are part of The Trust Project.

SIOUX FALLS — The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is in Sioux Falls this week to investigate the fourth officer-involved shooting in the city this year.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Monday, police in Sioux Falls were in the area of Sixth Street and Bahnson Avenue investigating a tip that multiple parole absconders were located in an area home. As police arrived, they say they located a driver, 33-year-old Sioux Falls resident Lavincia Bad Wound, who was known to police to have a revoked license.

With Bad Wound and another passenger — later identified as Elijah Wright, a 24-year-old transient man — in the vehicle, police initiated a traffic stop near the intersection of Sixth Street and Cleveland Avenue, roughly half of a mile to the west. The vehicle pulled into the parking lot of a car wash, and made a U-turn in the lot, positioned to somewhat face the patrol vehicle.

According to Sioux Falls Chief of Police Jon Thum, as police prepared to make contact with the driver, a third passenger — later identified as Mario Reyes Rodriguez, 26, of Sioux Falls — whose presence was previously unknown to police, appeared in the backseat and produced a shotgun, leading officers to open fire on the vehicle.

After multiple shots were fired, Bad Wound and Wright had exited the vehicle and took cover on the ground, Thum said. Rodriguez crawled out of the vehicle, away from police, and ran into the office of the car wash, leaving his shotgun in the vehicle.

ADVERTISEMENT

Eventually, Rodriguez exited the car wash and was subdued by officers through the use of a stun gun. Nobody was struck by the officers’ gunfire.

In a Tuesday morning press conference, Thum said the investigation was turned over to the DCI — as is standard procedure — and that details regarding how many officers fired weapons or how many shots were fired was unavailable.

The only injury reported in the officer-involved shooting was a scratched wrist that drew blood, but Thum confirmed the injury was not a result of a gunshot.

Thum was not able to confirm whether Rodriguez fired the shotgun at police, referring the question to the DCI.

Public Information Officer Sam Clemens, who typically runs the department’s regular morning briefings, said the shotgun was modified by sawing off part of the handle and part of the barrel. Though federal law dictates specific required dimensions regarding the overall length and barrel length of a shotgun, Clemens could not confirm whether the shotgun was legal or not.

A normal scene around police activity, one member of local media asked Thum if officers were concerned about the number of uninvolved bystanders who watched the scene unfold.

“There were kids nearby, officers were, through the use of verbal commands, able to get the kids away,” Thum said. “That’s a concern with a lot of these situations, is people make choices and innocent bystanders can get caught in the way.”

Adding on to that comment, Thum noted that an uninvolved vehicle was struck by a police cruiser as backup rushed to the scene.

ADVERTISEMENT

“A vehicle just was trying to get out of the way and was hit by a patrol vehicle,” Thum said. “If any emergency vehicle is coming, please just pull over to the right and allow safe passage.”

Thum did not provide any detail regarding who was deemed at fault in the crash, though he did not report injuries.

As officers secured the scene to be turned over to the DCI, Bad Wound, Wright and Rodriguez were arrested for various charges.

According to Clemens, Bad Wound was charged with driving while revoked, Wright was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia and Rodriguez was charged with a parole violation.

Clemens added that additional charges are likely against Rodriguez, but charging decisions will come from the DCI after the completion of their investigation.

Monday’s shooting marks the seventh officer-involved shooting in the state, and the fourth involving the Sioux Falls Police Department, this year.

According to the website for the Office of the Attorney General, all 53 officer-involved shooting investigations in South Dakota since December 2006 have been deemed justified — though four shootings, one in Rapid City and three in Sioux Falls, are still under investigation.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021. After over a year in Mitchell, he moved to Milwaukee, where he now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
What to read next
South Dakota Highway Patrol investigating
On Nov. 8, South Dakotans rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized marijuana in the state among anyone 21 years and over. Now, the more than 100 businesses clamoring for a piece of this industry will have to attempt to sustain themselves on a few thousand medical patients.
Combining Salem Mennonite Home with Freeman Regional Health Services facilities will benefit the public, ensure quality assisted living care, officials say
Members Only
“A big thing is pedestrian movement. It will allow a safe scenario for them to cross the street,” Schroeder said.