March 24, 2018

Dangerous assault suspect in custody due to actions of local law enforcement

A dangerous domestic assault suspect is now in custody, thanks to the quick response by Rapid City police officers.

On March 24th at around 7:00 a.m., police were called to a residence in the unit block of Signal Drive for a report of an unwanted subject who was involved in a disturbance and possible assault at the residence. Police arrived at the address and observed the suspect, identified as 31-year-old Michael Whirlwindhorse of Rapid City, exit the residence with a large knife in his hand. Whirlwindhorse was ordered to drop the knife dozens of times, but did not comply.

Other officers arrived on scene and Whirlwindhorse continued to threaten responding officers with the knife. Police were able to deploy less-lethal measures at the suspect in order to gain compliance. Multiple bean bags from the less-lethal beanbag shotgun were deployed with minimal effect on Whirlwindhorse. At several points during the incident, officers deployed their Taser on Whirlwindhorse. These Taser attempts also had no effect on the suspect.

At one point, Whirwindhorse proceeded to flee the area to the northwest, still armed with the knife. Officers pursued on foot and Whirlwindhorse was successfully Tasered in the area behind 1600 block of Kellogg Place. It took multiple officers to restrain Whirlwindhorse and place him in handcuffs.

Whirlwindhorse was placed under arrest for offenses that include Aggravated Assault, and Aggravated Assault on Law Enforcement. He on probation and is also a registered sex offender. He was additionally placed under arrest on a Probation Hold.

After Whirlwindhorse was taken into custody, police learned that Whirlwindhorse had ingested sleep aids in conjunction with alcohol prior to his encounter with officers.

“I am incredibly thankful that no officers were hurt in this encounter with this dangerous and unstable suspect, nor were there any innocent bystanders harmed in this very high-populated area of our city,” says Capt. James Johns, commander of the RCPD’s Patrol Division. “If it weren’t for the quick arrival of backup, in conjunction with a high-level of training on the part of our officers, someone could have been very seriously hurt.”

The RCPD continues to investigate the circumstances leading up to Whirlwindhorse’s encounter with police. Police have also determined there is a domestic violence component to Whirlwindhorse’s actions relative to the case. Given the sensitive nature of domestic violence cases, and the active ongoing investigation, the RCPD will not be able to provide more detail into this incident until a later date.                                                                   

* The charges are merely accusations and the arrested individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Any additional details regarding this case can be obtained from the Pennington County State’s Attorney and/or court records as appropriate.

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