This story was written by Randall Howell and is copyright Native Sun News.
PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA — The recent fatal shooting of a 22-year-old Oglala Lakota man near his home just north of Rapid City has been ruled justified by the South Dakota State Attorney General’s office.
Christopher J. Capps of Sunnyside Mobile Homer Community, just off Sturgis Road, Rapid City, was shot to death in a hail of bullets on the evening of May 2 by Pennington County Sheriff’s Department Deputy David Olson.
Deputy Olson “was justified in firing his weapon,” said the attorney general’s office in an official statement released on May 18. The statement said that the conclusion of the attorney general’s office in the Capps incident was based on an investigation by the state Division of Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Rapid City Police Department.
The report said that Capps “was holding an object in his hand that was believed to be a knife,” when the deputy opened fire.
“I’m going to kill you,” Capps allegedly said, while running toward the deputy, according to an unidentified witness. Capps, who was college-bound this autumn for the University of South Dakota-Vermillion, was the son of Jerry and Jaylene Capps. The family had lived, along with their now-dead son, in the mobile home community for about a dozen years.
Marty Jackley, the state’s attorney general, said that Olson had responded to an emergency call in rural Pennington County regarding an alleged assault of a 15-year-old victim. When the deputy arrived at the scene, the report said, Olson began “foot pursuit” of Capps.
According to the official report, the incident escalated when Capps allegedly “began to run toward deputy Olson and another bystander.” Neither the bystander nor the 15-year-old, who was identified as the victim of the alleged assault that prompted the initial emergency call, were identified in the statement released by Jackley’s office.
Witnesses said both were juveniles.
“Capps failed to follow repeated verbal commands” as he allegedly ran toward the deputy, according to the report. That’s when the gunfire from Olson began.
Meanwhile, a protest march to honor Capps’ life – and to protest mainstream media coverage of the incident – has been scheduled for 1 p.m. on June 1 from Mother Butler Center to the Rapid City School District Administration building. The march is being sponsored by the United Urban Warriors.
For more information, contact James Swan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, a wrongful death lawsuit could be under consideration by the parents of a 22-year-old Oglala Lakota man.
“Legal advice tells me that we are not to be putting anything out there,” said Jerry Capps, father of Christopher Capps.
Capps’ father declined to identify his attorney for Native Sun News.
“They murdered my son,” Capps’ father said the day after the shooting death.
Capps death has triggered an outrage in the Native American community, not only because of his death but also because of mainstream media – the daily newspaper, radio and television – coverage has yet to identify him as an Oglala Lakota man.
The Indian community cites earlier fatal shootings of Native Americans in Rapid City by law enforcement and what they term to be “anti-Indian news coverage” by major information outlets in the city.
Capps’ son, a college-bound graduate of Stevens High School in Rapid City, was shot to death in a field behind the Sunnyside Mobile Home Community, which is just over the city line off Everest Road, after law enforcement responded to calls about an alleged assault involving at least three people.
Meanwhile, neighbors have said that the two of those involved were 15-year-olds, who were harassing the now-dead Capps after an earlier incident on the streets of the mobile home community.
“He (Capps) had one of them in a neck hold to prevent any more injuries,” said one witness to the incident.
One witness, who declined to be identified, said Capps was within seven to 10 feet of the deputy when Olson opened fire. He (the deputy) fired “about five times” at Capps, the witness said.
Contact Randall Howell at email@example.com
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