A Sioux Falls Police Department officer is on administrative leave, following the shooting of two people during a traffic stop Tuesday afternoon at a gas station in north central Sioux Falls.
The two people, a 48-year-old man named Thomas Earl TwoBulls, and a 22-year-old woman, are recovering. The man had non-life threatening injuries and has since been released from the hospital into police custody. The woman is still in the hospital, but her exact condition is unclear, Sioux Falls police spokesman Sam Clemens said during an update with media from Sioux Falls Police Chief Jon Thum on Wednesday morning about the incident.
The shooting, initially reported at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, started as a traffic stop, when an officer pulled over a vehicle with "substituted plates" or license plate tags that don't belong to the vehicle, of which is usually a sign of a stolen vehicle of tied to hide other criminal activity in the vehicle, Thum said.
As the vehicle pulled into the Kum & Go gas station near the intersection of Minnesota Avenue and Russell Street and parked by the gas pumps, the officer made contact with the individuals inside, of which there were four, Clemens and Thum said.
As the officer started talking with the driver, they "picked up on some hints that she was being deceptive to what her identity was," and he asked her to step out of the vehicle, Thum said.
The driver refused, and as the officer attempted to pull the driver out of the vehicle, Thum said the vehicle was put into reverse and started to accelerate rapidly. The officer, trapped between the vehicle, the gas pumps and a nearby concrete barrier, opened fire, "fearing for his safety," Thum said. The driver and front side passenger were both struck, Thum said.
It's unclear whether the vehicle was stolen, and whether the vehicle was put in reverse intentionally, Clemens said. It's also unclear how many shots were fired by the officer.
A second police car blocked the vehicle involved in the traffic stop from leaving, according to a press release from the department.
Both people were then taken to a nearby hospital. The officer had minor injuries, but is OK, Clemens said.
The names the two people shot were not released, and Clemens said the investigation had been turned over to the state's Department of Criminal Investigations. In accordance with Sioux Falls Police Department policy, the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave, the release stated.
There have now been 17 shootings involving police within the city since 2004, nine of which have occurred since October 2021.
Thum said the department won't be able to give too much more information while the investigation is ongoing, but said this latest incident "highlights the dangers our officers are facing." Thum urged for compliance in the law, and Clemens said those in the vehicle had several outstanding warrants as well.
The driver, whose name won't be released until an arrest warrant has been issued or charges have been filed, had a combination of misdemeanor and felony warrants, Clemens said.
TwoBulls, the injured passenger, was arrested on several outstanding warrants for simple and domestic assault after he was discharged from the hospital, according to the Minnehaha County Jail booking log. He had injuries to his arm, Clemens said.
A third person out of the four, Roseanne Cook, 38, was arrested on warrants tied to the substitution of license plates as well as abuse or cruelty to a minor younger than 7.
"All of these situations are responding to the actions of other people that placing our officers in," Thum said. "I can guarantee our officers don't begin their shifts desiring to be in one of these incidents. It is very impactful, obviously not just for our officers, but for the people... This is not what we want to see every day."
DCI is asking any witnesses to the incident, including those with cell phone video that may assist investigators, to contact the office at 605-773-3331.
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Sioux Falls officer shoots 2 people during traffic stop, police say