Live Rounds Used in Wild West Reenactment

KOTA Radio: At a news conference Friday afternoon, Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom said investigators have identified the actor who fired live rounds during an Old-West-style cowboy shootout on Hill City's Main Street last Friday.

Three people were injured: Jose Pruneda, 52, Alliance, Nebraska; Carrol Knutson, 65, Birchwood, Minnesota; and John Ellis, 48, South Connellsville, Pennsylvania.

Thom says investigators from his office, the Rapid City Police Dept, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation were able to re-create the shooting on Wednesday by analyzing information gathered early in the investigation.

They identified the trajectory paths of the projectiles and located three lead bullets in different locations at the scene. The rounds were traced back to a .45 caliber handgun used in the shootout.

Investigators say they were able to determine that the bullets were fired from a .45 handgun fired by Paul Doering, 49, Somerset, one of the actors in the cowboy shootout.

Two .45 caliber live rounds and four .45 caliber spent casings, believed to be associated with the shooting, were located near the scene this afternoon by investigators, according to Thom.

Thoms would not speculate on whether the incident was an accident or done on purpose. But he did say it was lucky no one was killed. "I think we are very fortunate ... when three live rounds go into a crowd of people. We did have some injuries but no fatalities, and no more than three people injured, I definitely think we were fortunate."

Thom says the results of the investigation will be handed over to the Pennington County State's Attorney's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office for possible criminal charges.

The victims are also being briefed on the details of case.


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