CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. - A suicidal man shot himself Friday resulting in minor injuries following a police chase from Lower Brule and ending at Chamberlain High School, which was the site of a high school football game in the central South Dakota town along the Missouri River.
Players and fans were forced to flee the football field and bleachers..
Chamberlain Police Chief Joe Hutmacher said the incident began around 4 p.m. Friday, when authorities received a report of a man in his early 20s writing a suicidal post on Facebook, with the friends of the man alerting authorities.
A Lower Brule law enforcement officer spotted the individual's vehicle around 6:30 p.m., with the suspect then fleeing and leading officers on a high-speed chase south to Chamberlain. At approximately 6:50 p.m., the individual drove onto a practice football field directly next east of Chamberlain's football stadium, which was the site of Friday's game between the Cubs and Winner.
When authorities surrounded the vehicle, the man got out and shot himself, causing minor injuries. Players ran away from both teams, immediately stopped warmups and sprinted off the field to the west. A number of emergency vehicles closed in on the suspect's area and occupied the area until after the threat ended. No other individuals were injured in the incident.
"All of the law enforcement officers involved did a great job at working together to keep everyone safe during the game," Hutmacher said Friday. "The school also did a great job at executing their protocol for situations like this, which kept everyone safe."
According to Chamberlain Superintendent Debra Johnson, the Chamberlain administrators and crisis response team executed the protocol in which the school practices. Following the gun shot, an announcement was made to those in attendance at the game, prompting all spectators to move behind the bleachers.
"A lot of our staff members and crisis response team really stepped up and made sure to keep everybody safe," Johnson said. "We plan for these type of crisis situations for a reason."
The man, who was not immediately identified, was taken to a nearby hospital in Chamberlain and charges are pending, Hutmacher said.
The game between the Cubs and Warriors eventually began at 7:30 p.m., 30 minutes following the originally scheduled start time.