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January 10, 2012 04:53 PM

Details Of Chase That Ended With Shooting

rapid city, sd

A Wyoming man is in the hospital, accused of leading South Dakota authorities on a high speed chase that ended with an officer-involved shooting.

It all started early Tuesday morning near the intersection of East St. Patrick and Robbins Drive. That's where officers pulled over 41-year-old James Baker Jr. Authorities say he stopped and then sped off.

"It was discovered right after that he was a wanted fugitive from Wyoming," Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender said.

Baker is on probation and is wanted for felony theft.

"When the officers re-approached, he put the car in drive and sped away," Allender said.

He took St. Patrick Street to Campbell and headed north. Authorities say Baker reached speeds up to 70-miles an hour within city limits. Two miles into the chase, he hit a spike strip.

"One of the tires was struck by spikes causing the slow deflation of one of the front tires," Allender said.

When Baker got onto Interstate 90, a Highway Patrol trooper joined the pursuit.
Less than two miles later, the chase came to a sudden end.

"At that point, the front tire that had been deflated earlier was completely obliterated. The vehicle stopped abruptly as did the officers and the suspect then got out of his vehicle and immediately began firing a pistol at the officers," Allender said.

At least one bullet from Baker's semi-automatic nine millimeter pistol struck a police car.

Officers returned fire, hitting the suspect in the hand and upper torso. Baker is currently listed in critical condition at Rapid City Regional Hospital, and authorities are thankful no one else was seriously hurt.

"Officers are trained to be cautious. They're trained for the type of situations where they need to be ready for a fight if one erupts. It appears that they were ready for this fight," Allender said.

The state Department of Criminal Investigations has taken over the case and should release a report within the next 30 days. Police say charges against Baker are pending.
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