Police Shooting Update
February 3, 2004, 7:56 AM
Six shots, two officers and one suspect. It's a combination that has a Sioux Falls man in the hospital and facing charges of attempted murder. 41-year-old John S. Lewis is in serious condition this hour after police say last night he fired at two police officers and they shot back.
Police were told to patrol the area because of some recent vandalisms at Tri State Storage Units. That's just what officers Scott Reitmeier, who joined the force just 6 months ago, and his supervisor Michael Iverson say they were doing when they came across John S. Lewis.
It's here where police say meth, marijuana, a machete, knives and loaded guns all came together.
Barthel says, "They've got a subject on the ground with guns, they've seen guns in the car, he's fired at them, he still has a gun and he's not dropping it."
Investigators say they came across John S. Lewis last night. While one officer talked to him, the other checked out his stolen pickup.
Barthel says, "In the pick up there were also two sawed off shot guns as well as a long machete knife laying on the dash of the vehicle.
Police say they asked Lewis to take his hand out of his coat pocket, when he didn't, the three struggled to the ground. That's when Lewis is accused of shooting at the officers with a 9 millimeter handgun. Officers say Lewis tried to run and they shot again -- five times all together from just a couple feet away.
Barthel says, "They've got a definite threat. He's shot once, I'm sure he's not scared to shoot again. They've got to stop the threat."
Two of the trainee's rounds hit Lewis -- one striking his holster, the other going through his chest. Six minutes after it started, even though the shooting stopped, the investigation didn't.
When police got into the storage unit rented by Lewis, they found guns.
They also discovered meth and marijuana they think Lewis carried with him to the scene, three loaded handguns in his coat, and a knife and they think he could be connected to the storage unit break-ins.
Barthel says, "A further search of him also showed he had handcuff key he had clipped to the inside back of his shorts."
Police say Lewis, a convicted felon, came with a plan.
Barthel says, "I think it's obvious this guy knew what he was up to and came prepared if he should have a confrontation with law enforcement."
The video camera in the patrol car caught most of the shooting on tape. But we can't see that because it is in evidence. As for Iverson and Reitmeier, the officers involved in the shooting, are on routine administrative leave during the investigation. That's expected to last a couple days.
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