Sioux Falls, SD
A Sioux Falls man is dead after a shootout with police.
It started around 11:15 Wednesday night. Police were called to East 19th street for a suicidal man with a gun. Police say when they approached 30-year old Aaron Sivert Thompson he started shooting. Police fired back, hitting Thompson, who later died of his injuries.
This is the first time police officers in Sioux Falls have fired at a person since 2004. The police chief says the end result is not what police like to see, but they were given no choice.
According to police, Thompson was suicidal and walking down the sidewalk when the eight officers who responded to the call arrived in the area.
"I do know officers had a verbal exchange with him that went on for at least a couple of minutes," Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel.
In that exchange, officers were asking Thompson to put his handgun down. Instead he kept walking in the direction of officers, and started firing. After Thompson shot, multiple officers returned fire. At this point, it’s not known how many rounds were fired by either side.
"They made numerous attempts to try and get the subject to put down the gun and in the end, with the exchange of gunfire, weren't left with a lot of options," Chief Barthel said.
Thursday, South Dakota's Division of Criminal Investigation was on the scene. They're the lead agency in the investigation that also involves the sheriff's offices of Minnehaha and Lincoln County, plus the Highway Patrol. They'll determine if the officers were justified in their actions.
"Due to the fact there were numerous officers involved, it was a moving crime scene and with the number of rounds that were exchanged, it is going to be a long, drawn-out process to process that scene," Chief Barthel said.
The search for evidence spans multiple blocks. One house and multiple vehicles were hit in the exchange. Officers went door-to-door to ensure nobody else was injured.
The police department will also conduct an internal investigation. However, Chief Barthel says he believes all eight officers on the scene followed proper policies and procedures.
The department's policy is to give any officer involved in a shooting time off from work. Chief Barthel says it is important that the officer be in the right state of mind before returning to duty. Chief Barthel says because of the amount of shots fired, there could be at least five officers on administrative leave after this shooting.