RAPID CITY — Life in this otherwise quiet town is now left to return to normal after a domestic dispute led to a police standoff and forced the evacuation of a number of homes.
Within minutes of the suspect’s arrest, Mayor Orest Woloski expressed his relief that the standoff had ended, apparently without serious injury or worse.
"It’s wonderful," Woloski said.
The ordeal ended around 10:30 a.m. on Friday, about 12 hours after it began.
RCMP spokesperson Line Karpish said police were called to a domestic dispute at a Rapid City home around 10 p.m. on Thursday. The house stands at the edge of town beside the Rapid City Elementary School grounds.
Karpish said officers arrived to learn that a distraught man was in the home and that a woman had been assaulted.
Police also learned that firearms may be in the home.
Karpish said the woman had exited the residence and was outside when police arrived.
She was take to the Minnedosa hospital, where she was treated and released.
Woloski said members of the Rapid City volunteer fire department had found the woman walking near the school after being sent there by 911. An ambulance from Minnedosa took her to hospital.
Meanwhile, the man remained in the home and Karpish said that due to the potential threat of firearms, school was cancelled and a number of residents evacuated as a precaution.
Woloski estimated that 10 surrounding houses and 25 to 30 residents were evacuated. They were staying with friends or family, he said.
The mayor said there was a noticeable presence of police officers by about 4 a.m. on Friday.
Police blocked off a wide area around the house and the neighbouring school where they set up headquarters.
Officers with the Spruce Plains RCMP detachment were assisted by several area officers and other units, Karpish said.
Located on the other side of the school grounds, Lora Hay wasn’t evacuated and had a clear view of the temporary police HQ from her home across the street.
When she first looked out her window at 6 a.m. on Friday, she was alarmed to find a swarm of police vehicles outside.
"We just looked out the window and we were like, ‘Oh my God, what’s going on?" Hay said.
But as the morning wore on and she learned more about the situation through media, Hay felt more at ease and chose to enjoy a day at home with her 11-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son.
"I don’t feel threatened at all … How much safer could I possibly be, I’ve got 10 police cars in front of my house," Hay said.
Meanwhile, 13 firefighters and paramedics with the town fire department were on standby at the town office.
However, Woloski said those emergency workers were dismissed around 11 a.m. after the standoff apparently reached a peaceful end and they weren’t required to transport anyone to hospital.
Karpish said the standoff had come to an end around 10:30 a.m. when the man was arrested "without incident."
At the house, an officer said the matter had been resolved peacefully.
A 34-year-old Rapid City man is charged with assault causing bodily harm. RCMP continue to investigate and indicate that firearms charges may be laid.
Karpish said police continue to investigate and she didn’t have details about whether the man was ever actually armed, whether any shots were fired or whether police or others were threatened.
She also couldn’t specify whether any guns were actually found in the home.
The mayor said that, to the best of his knowledge, a couple lived together at the house and were its only residents.
He said they moved to town about 10 years ago, but residents don’t seem to know much about them because they kept to themselves.
"Being a small town, everybody is very inquisitive and very concerned," Woloski said. "It’s a small community, we all stick together."
Woloski said the standoff was uncharacteristic of his otherwise quiet town of 450, where people typically chip in to help each other.
Residents recently held a social where they sold pies to raise $3,500 for the town library.
They also recently raised $10,000 to send a man to India for treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Hay said a neighbour told her that the last time there was such a heavy police presence in town was when the bank was robbed about 30 years ago.