I thought the rifle shots were fireworks, even as I wondered what could be the occasion for festivity that evening of March 28.
“Or gunshots?” said my husband, who was reclining beside me in bed, just a moment ago reading on his phone.
I bolted upright and opened the police scanner app on my phone. I checked my watch and saw it was 9:45 p.m. There was only silence for a few seconds before the chatter started: “At least four gunshot victims … white SUV between Quincy and Columbus … suspect active.”
They were talking about my neighborhood. Then, someone said the suspect was walking down a street — our street!
My husband quickly turned down our lights and suggested we stay low. I lay on my stomach on our bedroom floor and fired off a text message to the Rapid City Police Department spokesman, asking what was happening in my downtown neighborhood.
I stayed glued to the scanner traffic, scribbling whatever I could catch on loose scraps of paper. I wanted my steno notebook, but I couldn’t remember where I put it.
“Ambulance in 100 block of Kansas City … Motor vehicle accident preceding the gunshots … going to CID to talk to investigators.”
My husband, who works as an editor for my paper, was already writing a news alert for our website and a late-breaking story for the following day’s paper. The city police chief had responded to his text message, confirming multiple people were injured in a shooting.
After midnight, as we were trying to wind down despite being anxious to know more, power inside the apartment went out. I peeked outside and saw downtown Rapid City in darkness; only the red rooftop sign for the Alex Johnson Hotel remained lit up.
Around 5:30 a.m., the Rapid City Police Department announced on social media that the shooting suspect had been caught. Dwight Quigley, a 28-year-old city resident, was arrested on charges of attempted murder and possessing a loaded firearm while intoxicated.
According to investigators, a car was traveling along Columbus Street when Quigley, who was on foot, began shooting at the occupants with a semi-automatic rifle.
The driver and two passengers got hit. The car continued moving forward, striking a power pole before falling into a ditch (which explained the power outage at home). A third passenger was injured in the crash.
Later that morning, I went to the scene with our reporter/photographer, Jim Holland. We saw the ditch where the car fell, the broken power pole and bits of plastic from the car.
Police described it as a random shooting, rare among acts of violence in the city.
Last month, Quigley pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His prosecution continues.