Saturday, November 3, 2012
A man is dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound after he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend during a domestic dispute Thursday morning at a trailer home in eastern Mitchell.
Mitchell Police Investigator Lt. Don Everson said officers arrived at the scene of a domestic dispute around 8 a.m. at a trailer home located at 1105 E. First Ave. No. 1. Soon after the officers arrived, a man police later identified as 26-year-old T.J. Stuckey, of Mitchell, retreated to a bedroom and shot and killed himself with his own shotgun.
Stuckey’s girlfriend, whose name was not released, was also living at the trailer home. She made a 911 call after she was allegedly assaulted by Stuckey, Everson said. She was already outside the home when the first officers arrived.
After the officers spoke with the woman, they went in search of Stuckey and it was then they heard the gunshot, Everson said.
Once the shot was fired, additional officers were called to the scene.
“There was no reason to go in at that point, so we decided to slow down and do it safely,” Everson said.
Authorities created a perimeter and evacuated some nearby trailer homes, Everson said, and then an emergency response team in helmets and body armor cautiously entered the home with weapons drawn. It was then that Stuckey’s lifeless body was found.
At the residence, several windows were smashed and a few baskets of clothes appeared to have been thrown around the front porch. Everson said it appears that was a result of the domestic dispute that happened before the shot was fired.
No shots were fired by any officers at the scene, Everson said, and it does not appear Stuckey fired any other shots except the one with which he took his own life.
The trailer home has been roped off with police tape for investigation, but Everson said it is obvious what happened.
“It is certainly quite clear that this person took his own life,” he said.
The woman involved in the incident has been interviewed and released, Everson said.
The 1100 block of East First Avenue was closed and nearby Longfellow Elementary was locked down for almost two hours as a result of the incident.
Barbara Rothacker lives directly east of the home where the suicide took place.
“It was terrifying,” she said. “I had one baby in the shower, two babies sleeping and one at the school. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
When Rothacker heard the shot around 8 a.m., she didn’t know immediately what it was.
“I asked my daughter ‘what was that?’” she said. “My grandson was in the shower and I thought he was tapping on the plastic.”
“She said ‘it isn’t from in here’ and then all at once the police came to the door and they said, ‘You’ve got to get out, there is a man with a gun. You have to go.’”
The South Dakota Highway Patrol, Division of Criminal Investigation and Sanborn County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the incident.