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Sioux Falls Police shoot, kill knife-wielding subject during welfare check

De-escalation tactics were "somewhat ineffective," according to Jon Thum, chief of the Sioux Falls Police Department.

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Police in Sioux Falls were called to this entrance, between Dick's Sporting Good and Macy's at the Empire Mall in Sioux Falls, to investigate a suspicious package with the word "boom" written nearby on Friday, June 3, 2022.
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SIOUX FALLS — One individual was killed by police Thursday night in Sioux Falls after authorities say he wielded a knife during a welfare check.

At approximately 10:45 p.m., police in Sioux Falls were called to the 1900 block of West Sixth Street to conduct a welfare check.

“In the development of that call, officers were confronted by a subject who was armed with a knife and an altercation ensued,” said Jon Thum, chief of the Sioux Falls Police Department.

Thum said officers began verbal de-escalation tactics before resorting to stronger use-of-force options, including stun guns and “less-lethal impact launcher” — which Thum described as a sponge foam projectile. Those methods were “somewhat ineffective,” according to Thum, and a physical struggle ensued.

During the struggle, Thum said one officer fired a shot from his duty weapon, striking the individual. Medical aid was rendered on-scene before the individual was transported to a local hospital, where the person died.

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Two officers involved in the struggle received minor injuries, which Thum described as superficial cuts. The names of the victim and the officers involved were not released.

Thum said the Sioux Falls Police Department immediately engaged in their protocol for officer-involved shootings, which includes turning the scene over to the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. The officers involved were also placed on standard administrative leave for the duration of the investigation.

During the Sioux Falls Police Department’s regular morning briefings, which are publicly posted to their Facebook page, Thum kept tight-lipped, referring most questions to DCI.

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Across 14 officer-involved shootings in South Dakota since 2018, all were deemed justified.

He did, however, acknowledge that all officers in Sioux Falls are equipped with body-worn cameras that record their interactions, and while that information will be useful for DCI’s investigation, there’s a “laundry list of statutes and standing court cases” that will likely prevent that footage from becoming available to the public.

“We’re very fortunate that all of our officers are okay, but loss of life is loss of life no matter the circumstances, and it's obviously tragic when we deal with these situations,” Thum said. “We’re extremely thankful to have an agency of [DCI’s] caliber to be able to partner with in these situations, to turn over this investigation and give it the necessary attention it needs.”

Though the Sioux Falls Police Department was the only agency involved in the struggle and shooting, the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office assisted with perimeter control and the South Dakota Highway Patrol is assisting DCI with their investigation.

The DCI has yet to release a statement acknowledging their involvement or releasing any details regarding the shooting.

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.
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