The year got off to a deadly start when an employee of Sioux Steel in Lennox opened fire inside the plant.
“The investigation at the scene revealed that two people had been shot,” Lincoln County Sheriff Dennis Johnson said.
45-year-old Jon Richter was killed and two others were seriously injured.
The suspect, 52-year-old Jeffrey DeZeeuw later turned the gun on himself. Authorities found his body next to a burnt-out semi about three miles south of Lennox.
It wasn’t the only shooting of 2015. A student walked into Harrisburg High School and fired one shot injuring the school principal. School staff responded quickly and so did law enforcement.
Although the principal returned to work the very next day, the shooting left a scar on the school district.
“The hardest part of Harrisburg is being identified with this and this doesn’t define Harrisburg,” Harrisburg Superintendent Jim Holbeck said.
In May, the small town of Delmont took a direct hit from an EF-2 tornado that tore a destructive path through the community.
At least three people were sent to the local hospital and were treated and released. As devastating as it was, no one was killed.
President Barack Obama visits Watertown
Also in May, President Barack Obama landed in a modified Air Force One at Watertown Regional Airport. It was Obama’s 50th state to visit while in office.
At the airport he met a Vermillion girl who mailed him this letter:
Obama delivered the commencement address for Lake Area Technical Insitute graduates.
He became the 15th sitting president to visit South Dakota and it was the 25th visit by a sitting president.
A flood of questions surfaced after tragedy struck the community of Platte. Authorities say Scott Westerhuis shot and killed his entire family, started his house on fire then turned the gun on himself.
The incident sparked a state and federal investigation into the finances of Scott Westerhuis who managed the GEAR UP Program that received millions of dollars in grant money.
Hundreds of stories from KELOLAND Investigates’ Angela Kennecke would follow this tragedy.
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The 2010s: A Decade in KELOLAND