State investigators: Sioux Falls officer justified in shooting woman 4 times during altercation
The officer shot Renee Two Bulls, 22, of Sioux Falls, while he was pinned by her vehicle to a gas pump at Kum & Go station. Two Bulls was later arrested on 14 warrants, including six felony warrants.
SIOUX FALLS — A Sioux Falls police officer was justified in shooting a woman four times while he was pinned to a gas pump by her vehicle, the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office has determined.
Renee Two Bulls, 22, of Sioux Falls, suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the Dec. 20, 2022, incident, and was arrested five days later on 14 warrants, including six felony warrants.
The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) on Friday, Jan. 27, released Attorney General Marty Jackley’s decision, clearing a Sioux Falls Police Department officer from criminal charges in the shooting.
Shortly before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, officers with the Sioux Falls Police Department conducted a traffic stop in a Kum & Go parking lot at the intersection of North Minnesota Avenue and Russell Street after observing the vehicle had substituted license plates. The vehicle was occupied by five individuals and driven by Two Bulls.
According to a four-page report prepared by the DCI, compiled through interviews and video evidence:
While in the gas station parking lot, Officer No. 1 — who is unnamed in the report — activated his police car’s emergency lights and positioned his vehicle at an angle in front of the red Kia Forte driven by Two Bulls. After providing descriptions over his radio of two passengers who had walked toward the store, Officer No. 1 made contact with Two Bulls and remaining passengers.
Two Bulls told Officer No. 1 that she did not have a driver's license and was asked to identify herself with a name and date of birth. She provided false information, according to the report. When asked to exit the vehicle after providing the information, Two Bulls asked an officer, “What am I going to do?”
Officer No. 1 then attempted to open the driver’s door, which Two Bulls held shut, and repeatedly ordered Two Bulls to exit the vehicle. Two other officers, identified in the report as Officer No. 2 and Officer No. 3, then arrived.
After struggling with the door, Officer No. 1 was able to open it, but was unable to remove Two Bulls from the vehicle, yelling to the other officers “One is resisting.” The Kia’s engine then revved up, and Two Bulls grabbed the gear shifter. Officer No. 2 arrived and assisted Officer No. 1 in attempting to remove Two Bulls, ordering her to shut the car off.
As the struggle continued, the Kia began moving in reverse. Officer No. 2 took cover between the pump and a canopy support pillar, but Officer No. 1 ran alongside the vehicle, still trying to remove Two Bulls. The interior of the driver’s door contacted Officer No. 1, pushing him until it struck the gas pump barrier.
As the vehicle came to a stop, Officer No. 1 fired five shots in rapid succession into the open door of the vehicle. A fourth officer arrived and positioned their vehicle in front of the Kia, preventing it from driving forward.
Two Bulls was shot four times on the left side of her body, while the front-seat passenger suffered a gunshot wound to his upper arm and wrist. Officer rendered aid to Two Bulls and the passenger until ambulances arrived, and both were taken to a hospital.
Medical tests would later determine that she was under the influence of methamphetamine and cannabinoids at the time, according to the report.
Officer said he feared for life, Two Bulls stays silent
More than two weeks after the shooting, on Jan. 6, Officers No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 were interviewed by DCI agents.
In his interview, Officer No. 1 told investigators that while he was being pushed by the open door or the vehicle itself, he believes one of the passengers was attempting to grab his duty weapon, holstered on his right hip. He said he was in fear of his life and the lives of Officer No. 2, a nearby civilian and the other passengers in the vehicle when he made the decision to “eliminate the threat.”
Officer No. 2 told investigators that while he was able to take cover and avoid being struck by the moving Kia, it appeared that Officer No. 1 had been knocked down by the vehicle. Officer No. 3 recalled seeing the vehicle moving, but wasn’t immediately next to the vehicle, and wasn’t sure who fired shots.
Two Bulls declined to be interviewed by investigators.
Investigators interviewed the four passengers. One commented about Two Bulls’ demeanor, noting she was nervous and didn’t know what to do after the police car had approached. Another passenger said they assumed Two Bulls would flee from the scene. A third passenger said Two Bulls might have been scared due to her warrants.
Investigators determined that the interviews were consistent with available evidence.
Two Bulls was sought for dragging officer weeks prior, had 14 warrants
The report indicated that Two Bulls had a “lengthy” criminal past, with prior charges including aggravated assault on law enforcement, theft of a motor vehicle, burglary, simple assault, possession of a controlled substance and driving under the influence.
According to a Sioux Falls police report referenced, but not included, in the DCI’s report, Two Bulls had an active warrant from Dec. 1, 2022, in which she’s accused of fleeing a traffic stop at another Sioux Falls gas station. In that traffic stop, police say Two Bulls dragged an officer with her vehicle for several feet.
After the Dec. 20 shooting, Two Bulls spent a week in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Upon her release on Dec. 27, she was arrested on 14 warrants, six of which were felony warrants.
The day after her release from the hospital, Two Bulls was charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer in connection with the shooting. If convicted, she could be sentenced to serve up to 50 years in prison plus pay fines of up to $100,000. After pleading not guilty, Two Bulls is set to appear for a jury trial on April 3.
The officer will face no charges in connection with the shooting.
The officer-involved shooting was one of 14 that occurred in South Dakota in 2022, and the seventh to involve an officer with the Sioux Falls Police Department. Since 2006, when the Attorney General’s Office began publishing officer-involved shooting investigation results online, no shooting has been deemed unjustified. One investigation is currently ongoing in Rapid City.