A South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper was forced into a possible life or death situation that was the culmination of a series of events during which a Vermillion man was injured.

The findings were released by Attorney General Marty Jackley and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation into the incident involving 21-year old Kuong Gatluak of Vermillion. At the conclusion was a traffic stop on Interstate 29 and a scuffle between the patrolman and Gatluak. At the origin of why police were looking for Gatluak was an incident in Vermillion.

Approaching speeds of near 100 miles per hour on the controlled access highway, it was mile marker 45 along Interstate 29 when Gatluak stopped his vehicle. There were repeated commands to stay in the vehicle by the patrolman to Gatluak. However, the suspect continued to approach the officer and the two eventually went to the ground. The Trooper fired his weapon in order to keep the suspect from seizing the gun, striking Gatluak in the left bicep and left shoulder. Gatluak was treated for his injuries at a Sioux Falls hospital.

Officially, Marty Jackley expressed in a press release that the Trooper did the right thing in that situation.

“It is my conclusion as Attorney General that the Trooper was justified in firing their (sic) weapon and using lethal force. I would like to thank the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Trooper for their service and complete cooperation in this investigation.”

Dash cam video and audio were also used in the investigation to confirm the patrolman’s account. For a full account of the summary, click here.


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