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SD Police Shoot Man Wanted In Wyo. After Chase

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Wyoming man was in critical condition in a South Dakota hospital on Tuesday after being shot by law officers following a vehicle chase in the Rapid City area.

Authorities allege that James Baker Jr., 41, of Gillette, Wyo., fled from a traffic stop about 1:30 a.m. The chase ended on an Interstate 90 on-ramp after road spikes placed by officers deflated one of the tires on Baker’s truck.

Baker emerged from the vehicle with a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun and fired at officers, and two Rapid City police officers and a Highway Patrol trooper returned fire and shot Baker at least twice, in the upper torso and hand, Police Chief Steve Allender said.

Baker is formerly from the South Dakota town of Box Elder. He is wanted on a Wyoming warrant for violating probation on a larceny conviction, Allender said.

None of the law officers were shot, although one was treated for a cut finger, Allender said. One patrol car was struck by a bullet. It was not immediately known how many shots were fired.

“I’m glad it was him rather than our guys,” Allender said of Baker. “Just a foolish thing to do.”

The shooting was the second in half a year involving Rapid City police officers. Officers James Ryan McCandless and Nick Armstrong were killed in August in a shootout that began as a routine stop for a reported disturbance. A third officer, Tim Doyle, was wounded. The suspect was shot and died the next day.

The officers involved in Tuesday’s shootout have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in shootings involving police. They were identified as Senior Officer Sean Doyle and Officer Michael Frybarger, of the Rapid City Police Department, and Highway Patrol Trooper Robert Rybak.

State Attorney General Marty Jackley said his office’s criminal investigation division is investigating, and is expected to report on its findings within a month.

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