Two people are dead following a shooting at a strip mall in Sioux Falls. It happened shortly after 1:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon near the Cost Cutters on 41st Street in the Plaza 41 building.
Police say 38-year-old Tyrone Leeon Smith shot 24-year-old Amanda Connors, who worked at Cost Cutters, shot in a car in the parking lot. Smith then went into Cost Cutters and held his two young children, their mother, and three other employees hostage before he released them and killed himself.
It was a chain of events that started when Smith went to his children's day care and demanded his two children at gunpoint. Police say just minutes later they received a call for a crash in the parking lot of Cost Cutters where the mother of the children works. When they arrived they found Connors dead of a gunshot wound. But even after making that grim discovery police were called once again.
"Shortly after that we got a call from Cost Cutters that there was a male who was holding people hostage at that location," Sioux Falls Police Sergeant Loren McManus said.
Members of the Sioux Falls SWAT team were called and started surrounding the strip mall. Smith released the four women and the children at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"From what I'm told he never was actually going to hold them. He basically allowed them to leave. I don't know what the conversation was when they left. I don't think they were forced to stay or go. They left on their own," McManus said.
Jamie Fischer, an employee who was in the salon at the time, told KELOLAND News she had a gun pointed at her and a bullet grazed her leg.
"All I thought was, 'I'm going to die,'” Fischer recalled. “Then I told myself to shut up and just prayed."
Police say the four women thought they heard a gun shot as they left the business. And for the next two-and-a-half hours the SWAT team took several precautions as they tried to enter the building. When they finally did they discovered that Smith had killed himself.
Police don't know why Smith killed Connors but they do know that the 38-year-old was having troubles with the mother of his children who was Connors' co-worker at Cost Cutters.
"His wife, or girlfriend, whatever their domestic relationship is, that seems to be where the issue was at. I believe Ms. Connors was an employee of Cost Cutters but I don't know what the relationship was and why she was targeted," McManus said.
And that's the question police will try to answer as they continue their investigation.