RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Members of Rapid City’s Native American community are mourning the death of a man who was shot and killed by a police officer after allegedly attacking the officer with a knife.
A few dozen people gathered Sunday for prayer and song in front of a north side home where Allen Locke, 30, was killed. The state Department of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting.
Robin Page, a board member of Lakota Community Homes, where the shooting took place, was among the mourners. She told the group she hopes the incident sparks change in the community.
“We must find positive solutions to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Page said.
Police said the incident occurred after Officer Anthony Meirose was called to the house Saturday evening because of a report of an unwanted person. Meirose shot Locke several times.
Rapid City Police Capt. Dan Rud said Locke was known to local law enforcement “through previous criminal contacts,” but he wouldn’t elaborate. He said those who believe race was a factor are wrong.
“The officer is white. The suspect is Native American, but it’s not a race deal,” Rud said. “This is based on criminal behavior and has nothing to do with race. If the police officer was Native American and the suspect was white, the result would have been the same thing.”
The shooting happened about 24 hours after an anti-police brutality march, organized by American Indian Movement Grassroots, was held in Rapid City. The march was organized to draw attention to the often strained relationship between Native Americans and law enforcement.
It is the second fatal police shooting in Rapid City this year. Police in June shot and killed Harold Murphy, 35, who allegedly pulled a gun on a police officer as they wrestled in the parking lot of an apartment complex.
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