BULLHEAD, South Dakota - On Tuesday, June 20, 2023, at approximately 5:30 p.m., Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement officers from the Standing Rock Agency assisted the Corson County, South Dakota, Sheriff’s Department in responding to a service call in rural Watauga, South Dakota, requesting assistance involving a man making threats with a handgun.

At approximately 7:50 p.m., BIA officers and sheriff’s deputies located the individual in his vehicle in the community of Bullhead. A traffic stop was conducted where the individual exited the vehicle and waived a handgun before returning to his vehicle and fleeing the scene.

Following a vehicle pursuit, the individual stopped and exited his vehicle at the Bullhead Community Center, again brandishing a handgun. Responding law enforcement officers made repeated attempts to peacefully resolve the incident. However, after the individual failed to follow law enforcement’s verbal commands to drop his weapon, the individual was shot once by a BIA officer.

The individual was transported to an area hospital in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he received medical attention. He was then transferred into federal custody on July 6.

The investigation into the incident is being handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The BIA Office of Justice Services Internal Affairs Division is also conducting an administrative review of the incident.

In October 2022, the Department of the Interior announced a series of new law enforcement policies to advance transparent and accountable policing practices as part of the continuing implementation of President Biden’s May 2022 Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Strengthen Public Safety. On July 13, 2023, the Department of the Interior instituted a new Department Policy for the Expedited Public Release of Body Worn Camera and Vehicle Mounted Camera Video Footage.

In the coming months, the BIA will consult with Tribes on the development of a bureau policy, consistent with the department’s policy and the president’s executive order. The BIA is committed to transparent policing and strengthening the public‘s trust in its law enforcement program.

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Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services - Standing Rock Agency
Building 51 Proposal Ave.
Fort Yates, SD 58538
Open 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday.