On September 10, 2008, at 3:57 p.m., dispatch received a call. The caller stated two teenage boys had just fought at the Memorial Park band shell and reported that one of the boys may be injured. Rapid City Fire Medical and Rapid City police officers were dispatched and arrived at the park at 4:04 p.m. They found an injured 17-year-old boy. The boy was transported by ambulance to Rapid City Regional Hospital where he received medical treatment for fractured vertebrae. He remains in the hospital in serious condition.
For the past 13 days detectives from the Rapid City Police Department have actively investigated this incident. Approximately 34 witnesses were interviewed and 3 cell phone video recordings taken by witnesses have been seized as evidence. On the evening of September 10th, detectives were able to identify and interview the other boy that was involved in the fight. He is 16 years old and from Rapid City. Both boys are students at Central High School. Based on witness statements and interviews, detectives determined that the two boys did not go to the band shell with the intent to fight each other, but were there to watch another fight that was rumored to take place. This rumored fight did not take place, but while at the band shell the boy who was later injured provoked a fight with the other boy. Both ended up engaging in fighting behavior with each other. During this scuffle, the two boys fell to the ground and the boy that provoked the fight sustained a serious injury.
The investigation led investigators and prosecutors from the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office to conclude that the other boy involved in this fight did not have the malicious intent to cause serious bodily injury to the boy that provoked the fight. After dozens of interviews and thorough review of the videos which corroborated the witness statements, it was determined both boys committed the crime of disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor crime. A charge of disorderly conduct on each boy will be forwarded to the Pennington County State’s Attorney Office for prosecution consideration.
Needless to say, this is a tragic event for both boys and their families, as well as for our community. Across the nation there is a trend of juveniles gathering in public places to participate in fights and to watch their peers fight. Many of these incidents are videotaped and posted on the internet for entertainment purposes. The Rapid City Police Department will continue to investigate this type of activity and will work with the Pennington County State’s Attorney Office in prosecuting these cases. This after-school fight between two teenage boys is an example of how quickly tragedy can occur in what many youth in our community view as a seemingly minor event.