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2018-02-08 / Headlines

Water Protector Wants Evidence Returned

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Police are investigating the deaths of two homeless people near a bridge on Interstate 190 in Rapid City.

A police statement Monday said a passer-by alerted authorities around 10:15 a.m. Sunday. Police arrived to find 58-year-old Ernie Evans, of Rapid City, dead. Police also found a dead woman lying against a nearby tree. She’s identified as 54-year-old Connie Red Nest, of Rapid City.

Authorities found no signs of trauma or foul play. Autopsies were ordered to determine the cause of their deaths.

Police Chief Karl Jegeris says his department has now investigated the unattended deaths of four homeless people amid this winter’s cold temperatures.

The department says it’s working with Mayor Steve Allender’s office toward longterm solutions for improving the safety of Rapid City’s homeless population.

Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris said at the pop-up shelter Friday night attendees continued drinking while they were there, and that led to problems.

Chief Jegeris said in a letter to the mayor that although the people who started the warming shelters have good intentions, they are actually doing more harm than good.

Chief of Police Karl Jegeris says, “And so what I mean by that is by giving a false sense of security that there will be someone to locate you and or shelter you every night when you don’t have the resources or the physical location and the volunteers to actually provide that service on a consistent basis, I think that we’re setting up the homeless population for failure.”

Mayor Steve Allender said in statement today that he supports Chief Jegeris’ approach to the pop-up shelters and that we should all continue to search for long-term solutions to address homelessness.

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