PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says a Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) review indicates a South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper was justified in shooting a man who fired a gun at the officer during an incident on Aug. 9, 2023 in Sturgis.
The suspect sustained serious non-life threatening injuries.
Jackley says it was a tense situation where the suspect had a criminal background of violent behavior who fired a gun at the trooper and then tried to flee in the trooper’s patrol vehicle.
He says “evidence collected at the scene, witness statements, and a review of the video compiled from several sources indicate that the Trooper was justified in using lethal force.”
The incident began on Aug. 9 when a South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper, driving east on Dickson Drive in Sturgis, identified Wyatt James Fluty walking southbound on Junction Avenue. Fluty was an alleged suspect in a stolen vehicle case that occurred July 27 in Wyoming and an armed robbery that was reported Aug. 7 in Pennington County. On Aug. 8. Fluty had fled from a motorist assist stop conducted by the Highway Patrol that had occurred in rural Meade County.
After identifying Fluty, the Trooper got out of their vehicle, drew their firearm and verbally engaged Fluty. The suspect fled and ran into a ditch. The trooper pursued the suspect and unsuccessful deployed their taser. Fluty produced a handgun from his waistband and fired at the Trooper who fell to the ground to avoid being shot. Fluty also fired at the Trooper while they were on the ground.
Fluty ran to the Trooper’s unsecured patrol vehicle and gained access through the driver’s side door. An out-of-state Off-Duty Deputy, who witnessed the shooting from a nearby convenience store, ran to the Trooper’s assistance. The Trooper and Off-Duty Deputy fired several rounds into the vehicle, striking Fluty.
The two officers stopped firing when Fluty surrendered his weapon. Life-saving measures were started on Fluty, and he was transported to the Sturgis hospital. No one else was injured.
Test results indicated methamphetamine was found in Fluty’s system. The Trooper and Off-Duty Deputy tested negative for both drugs and alcohol.
Fluty is charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder and is scheduled to enter a plea at September 20 court appearance.