Shooting by RCPD officer ruled justified

Suspect in May 31, 2022, incident allegedly rammed officer's vehicle after chase

PIERRE, S.D. —An investigation into a Rapid City Police officer’s shooting of a suspect back in May 2022 was justified.

Yellow police tape across a crime sceneThe South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation, which was reviewed by Minnehaha County State’s Attorney Daniel Haggar. That review determined the use of force was justified.

The May 31st incident began as a traffic stop in the early morning hours. The vehicle did not pull over, so police began a pursuit. Officers attempted a controlled stop on the car using their own vehicle, but the tactic did not work and the car continued toward St. Patrick Street and South Valley Drive before turning into Terra Court. Both the officer’s vehicle and suspect’s vehicles made contact, spinning out the suspect’s vehicle.

The suspect, 32-year-old Shania Watkins of Rapid City, then allegedly drove at an officer, who fired seven rounds into the vehicle, striking Watkins.

Watkins suffered several gunshot wounds and was taken to Monument Health’s Rapid City Hospital for treatment of her injuries.

South Dakota Attorney General Mark Vargo says his office also reviewed the incident and has charged Watkins with aggravated eluding. She may face additional charges now that the investigation is complete.