WHITEWOOD, S.D. — The Lawrence County State’s Attorney office says a Whitewood police officer who fired her duty weapon in the line duty in late December was justified in doing so.
Police say that on December 28, 2019, Kannesha Nept, with the Whitewood Police Department, attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle with no taillights at the intersection of Laurel and Sherman streets.
The driver, later identified as Hunter Baker, 24, of Spearfish, failed to stop and led the officer on a chase that ended up on U.S. Highway 34.
Nept conducted a pit maneuver – a tactical maneuver used to turn a suspect vehicle sideways, causing the driver to lose control and stop, once crossing over Interstate 90. Baker’s vehicle spun out of control near the intersection of Highway 34 and Whitewood Valley Road.
Baker and Nept ultimately ensued in a scuffle. During the scuffle, Nept fired a single shot from her 9mm Glock duty weapon. No one was injured by the shot.
Baker broke contact and fled the scene. Nept remained with the vehicle along with the lone passenger. Baker was later found by other law enforcement officers near the scene. He, along with the passenger, Spring Brock, 21, of Spearfish, were arrested without further incident.
Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald says the officer was justified in firing her weapon because “she was in fear of her safety.”