Attorney General’s office deems shooting involving law enforcement justified

PIERRE, S.D. – The Office of the Attorney General and the Division of Criminal Investigation has
released the summary into the shooting of 41 year old  Ryan John Waldner of Spencer on March 19, in
rural Hanson County. The Division of Criminal Investigation assisted by the Hanson
County Sheriff’s Office, and the South Dakota Highway Patrol, investigated the incident at the request of
the Hanson County Sheriff’s Office and the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
The incident began at approximately 7:40 pm on March 19. The Hanson County Sheriff’s Office
and the South Dakota Highway Patrol and surrounding agencies were dispatched to an area in rural
Hanson County for a report of a male shooting at a neighbor.
Officers arrived at the scene at approximately 8:00 pm and heard more shots fired from the direction of
the Waldner residence. It was determined that Waldner was in the residence with his spouse and at
least two children. It was also determined the residence did not have a working phone. The South
Dakota Highway Patrol Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team was called to the scene as well.
At 10:28 pm the SWAT team approached the residence in a Bearcat light armored vehicle, using
loudspeakers announcing their identity and requesting that any occupants should exit the residence
with their hands up. At 10:30 pm Waldner stood in the doorway of his residence and fired 2-3 shots in
the direction of the law enforcement vehicle. A female was heard screaming in the residence. Waldner
retreated into the residence only to emerge a few seconds later and again fire more shots at the law
enforcement vehicle, one of which is believed to have struck the occupied vehicle. It was at this time
that a South Dakota Highway Patrol marksman took one shot which struck Waldner in the chest,
resulting in him collapsing just inside the residence. Medics were called but Waldner died at the scene
as a result of his injury.
The investigation and summary have been reviewed and deemed justified by Chief Deputy Attorney
General Charles McGuigan.
The Division of Criminal Investigation would like to thank the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the
Hanson County Sheriff’s Office for their service and cooperation during the investigation.