South Dakota Casino Deadly Gunfire Reviewed, Police Officers Justified

Two Rapid City, S.D., police officers were justified in using lethal force this July when an armed man fired a shot in an officer’s direction, officials announced on Friday. The shooter was killed by officers in front of Chances Casino.

South Dakota Attorney General Mark Vargo, pictured above. He announced recently that two police officers were justified in shooting an armed man at a casino. (Image: Facebook)

South Dakota Attorney General Mark Vargo and the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) released a report that said that during the July 26 incident, Marvin Moran Jr., fired his handgun toward a patrol car in the casino’s parking lot.

That is when two officers returned fire. An autopsy revealed that Moran was struck by 10 bullets.

Even before officers arrived at the gaming property, Moran was brandishing his gun and fired the weapon, officials said.

Clear, Present Danger

The officers were justified in shooting at Moran given that they “faced clear and present danger and there was danger to the public,” the official report concluded. The officers “believed they were in a situation in which Moran was attempting to inflict serious injury or death and responded with deadly force.”

“The Rapid City Police Department officers faced a fluid, tense and undeniably dangerous situation,” Vargo agreed in a statement.

A witness later told investigators Moran had confronted them in the casino’s parking lot before the officers’ arrival. He was drinking vodka from a bottle. Moran then brandished a handgun and fired the weapon in the direction of the witness, the witness said.

The witness believed he/she was wounded when debris hit them in the face. Moran also made threatening comments toward the witness.

Wanted to Die

Investigators also looked at Moran’s Facebook page. It showed messages that revealed he was suffering from cancer. He refused to get medical treatment.

Moran talked about going on a killing spree when he got close to the end of his life,” the report said. “Moran talked about suicidal thoughts and thinking about ‘going out by cop.’”

Moran also had an “urge to kill someone, that he was following people, and he wanted to watch the life leave their body,” the report added. He added in an online message that he “didn’t have anything to lose.”

This message was sent at 8:15 pm the night of the casino shooting. The shooting took place just a couple of hours later.

Rapid City, S.D., police cruiser, pictured above. Two department officers were investigated for the shooting of an armed man at a local casino. Their actions were found to be justified. (Image: Flickr)

During post-mortem tests, it was shown Moran’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was .293. Typically, BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is considered intoxicated when driving a vehicle. He also had used methamphetamine (meth) before the shooting, post-mortem tests revealed.

In the years before the shooting, Moran had a history of criminal arrests, such as for aggravated assault, domestic violence, theft, fraud, escape and alcohol-related charges.

Beyond the social media review and autopsy, the extensive inquiry included interviews of witnesses and taking statements from the officers. Also, evidence collected at the casino was examined by the state’s forensic laboratory.

In addition, investigators reviewed video. That included video from surveillance cameras at the crime scene, and video from cameras worn by the officers.

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