Report finds officers fired 15 rounds at suspect in armed burglary incident

Barney Leroy Peoples Jr

Barney Leroy Peoples, Jr., 51, passed away on Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Rapid City, SD. Photo courtesy of Kirk Funeral Home & Cremation Services

PIERRE, S.D. – According to the Office of the Attorney General and the Division of Criminal Investigations report on the shooting of Barney Leroy Peoples, Jr., two Rapid City Police officers fired 15 rounds at Peoples, Jr. during an armed burglary in progress incident on March 26, 2002.  Six of the 15 rounds resulted in Peoples, Jr. death at the scene.

The report states that a homeowner reported the burglary after returning from an out-of-state trip. Five Rapid City Police Officers responded to the call and were later joined by a sixth canine handler officer. Officers announced themselves to the intruder when entering and moving through the ground and upper levels of the home with no response from the suspect. The canine unit was deployed after an officer saw a shotgun resting against a doorway at the top of the stairs.

The canine unit found Peoples, Jr. armed with a sited rifle pointed at the officer in the master bedroom. Peoples, Jr. was commanded to put the weapon down. When he didn’t comply two officers then fired from the threshold of the door. The South Dakota Forensic Laboratory found and tested 15 shell casings from the scene all of which were found to be from the involved officers’ duty weapons.

The Office of the Attorney General ruled that both officers were justified in firing their weapons and using lethal force. Peoples Jr. died at the scene.

An autopsy found a bag of suspected methamphetamines on Peoples’, and a drug and blood alcohol test came back positive for meth and BAC of .053.  A criminal background check on Peoples, Jr. found an extensive history of offenses, including breaking and entering, drug and alcohol offenses, domestic violence and disorderly conduct.



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