RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – Both the Rapid City Police Department and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation are handling aspects of a Sunday afternoon shooting that left 3 people dead.
The dead include the original shooting victim, the who shot him and was in turned was killed by police after firing at them, and a neighbor who died of a health condition after being evacuated from the apartment building where the shooting occurred.
Officers were dispatched to the apartment building shortly before 5:00 after receiving reports of short fired on the second floor. Several arriving officers confirmed gunfire, then determined they were being shot at. At least one police vehicle was found after the incident to have been struck.
After officers entered the building, they helped some residents to safety and told others to find shelter inside. When officers entered a stairway to make their way to the 2nd floor, they encountered 29-year-old Patrick Alden of Rapid City, who was armed with a rifle.
3-year Rapid City police officer Garrett Mastin then shot and wounded Alden. As officers made their way to the top of the stairs where they found 64-year-old David Ironhorse of Rapid City lying in the hallway with multiple gunshot wounds. Emergency aid was given to both Alden and Ironhorse, but both were pronounced dead after being taken to ambulances.
The third person to die was 81-year old Thomas Trout. One of 2 elderly residents of the building who were evacuated during the shooting, Trout was found unresponsive in a nearby vehicle. Authorities believe he suffered a “health-related issue complicated by the urgency of the evacuation.
In accordance with standard protocol, Officer Mastin has been placed on administrative leave while the official investigation into the shooting takes place. The Rapid City police are handling the investigation in Alden’s apparent shooting of Ironhorse while the DCI is investigating Mastin’s shooting of Alden.
Rapid City Assistant Police Chief Don Hedrick says there’s no question in his mind that “the brave actions” of officers helped save lives because Alden’s actions “made it clear that he was intent on harming others.
Hedrick says the Rapid City community “should be aware that our officers stand ready to combat any threat to public safety, and that’s just what happened during this intense situation,” adding that “the collective sympathies of the Rapid City Police Department go out to this victims of this senseless tragedy.”