Brief courthouse riot erupts after Rapid City sentencing - KOTA Territory News

Brief courthouse riot erupts after Rapid City sentencing


At 20 years old, prosecutors describe John Shaw's wrap sheet as being as long as that of a hardened criminal.

He pled guilty to three counts of aggravated assault and one count of shooting at a moving vehicle as part of a plea deal earlier this summer. His sentence: 50 year in prison.
But then chaos erupted as he was taken out of court.

Shaw broke free from the courthouse deputy, shattering the glass from the adjoining clerk's office.

It was then that his family began fighting amongst themselves, and I was able to capture what ensued on my personal cell phone.   

Sheriff's deputies hurried to the scene to detain Shaw and his supporters, who were yelling and attempting to aid Shaw as he battled with deputies amid broken glass.

"I believe his elbow or arm went through the glass. He received cuts, some of our deputies received cuts. Both are receiving medical treatment," said Pennington county Sheriff Kevin Thom.

Two of Shaw's supporters, Bradley Ness, 18, and Sonrisa Stafford, 19, were arrested for fighting. They're currently being held on disorderly conduct charges.

"Sentencing is an emotional time. He just received a lengthy prison sentence and emotions are very high at that point. He made another poor decision," said Thom.

At least 7 deputies and a street crimes officer converged on the scene to secure witnesses and keep the peace between quarreling family members.

The fight among the family members centered on Shaw's methamphetamine use and who was responsible.

"Once or twice a year we'll have an incident of this magnitude, it just underscores how important courthouse security is, not just judges and my staff, the courtroom is full of a whole lot of people not associated to this case," said 7th circuit Judge Jeff Davis.

Outside of the courthouse, family members told us they were in shock, and believed investigators should've paid more attention to the adults who they believe were providing the drugs to Shaw.

Sheriff Kevin Thom says as vigilant as deputies are, there's just no predicting what a heavy sentence will do to an inmate.

"He was in custody, in restraints, and still chose to go on the fight. Can't stop someone from doing that. Obviously they're here because they made poor choices," said Thom.

Sheriff Thom says he will evaluate how the deputies handled the situation, but he's confident they took effective action.

Shaw could face additional charges from this incident, but we don't know what, if any charges will be filed at this point.

Before this happened, it looked like he would have eligible for parole in 25 years. Obviously that could change now.

Before the chaos, Shaw apologized to his victims, and the "citizens of Rapid City" for his crimes. According to Judge Janine Kern, Shaw had a history of stealing cars, and using violence freely.

Original story

Chaos breaks out in Pennington county court Friday morning after a man, unhappy with his 50-year prison sentence breaks a glass door and fights with law enforcement.

Immediately after John Shaw, 20, was sentenced by Judge Janine Kern for shooting at a moving vehicle he muffled something to his family members in the courtroom and rammed a door breaking the glass.

Law enforcement converged on Shaw.

Minutes later he was taken out of the courthouse on a stretcher surrounded by law enforcement.

According to witnesses, Shaw was not the only person who lost control.

His family began fighting amongst themselves and at least two people, Bradley Ness, 18, and Sonrisa Stafford, 19, were arrested on disorderly conduct charges.


Powered by WorldNow

518 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD 57701

Telephone: 605.342.2000
Fax: 605.342.7305

Couldn't find what you were looking for?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - WorldNow and KOTA. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.