Rapid City police investigate apparent murder-suicide - KOTA Territory News

Rapid City police investigate apparent murder-suicide

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UPDATE (11:47 A.M.)

Autopsies are scheduled Friday for a Rapid City woman who was shot and killed by her boyfriend before he turned the gun on himself.

Police say Brad Swanson, 58, killed Deb Ohlmacher, 55, and then himself Tuesday night. Authorities say the two had been involved in a rocky romance.

Toxicology reports won't be available for 2 to 3 weeks.

UPDATE (5:15 p.m.):

Police continue their investigation into an apparent murder-suicide Tuesday night. They know the "what," and now they're trying to figure out the "why."

Police responded at about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday.

When they got there, 58-year-old Brad Swanson told officers he had shot and killed his girlfriend.

That's when officers outside the apartment lost contact with Swanson.
 
"There's one person that has control over the incident, and that's the suspect himself," said Rapid City Police Department Lt. James Johns.
 
Johns was called to the scene, along with the rest of the Special Response Team, in the very early stages.
 
"We knew already that he had used a weapon against another person," he said.
 
That was thanks to a call from one of Swanson's family members.

When the SRT entered apartment 3C on Woodrun Lane, they found Swanson and his live-in girlfriend, 55-year-old Deb Ohlmacher, with gunshot wounds.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
 
"It generally indicates that someone is ... either suffering from depression or some significant mental illness," Pennington County state's attorney Glenn Brenner said of murder-suicides.
 
He added these circumstances seem consistent with some sort of mental instability.

Johns couldn't confirm a criminal history, but said Swanson "is not unknown" to the police department.
 
"There isn't a prosecution or an investigation that needs to continue," Brenner said, "other than to get some answers as to why this occurred."
 
"We've got a responsibility to make sure everything's looked at," said Johns.
 
A responsibility to the victims, and to the community.
 
"Maybe there's a lesson to be learned," he said. "Maybe there's something that can be applied to another relationship."

KOTA-TV was at the scene Wednesday afternoon, and investigators were going in and out of both the upstairs and downstairs doors, but weren't really bringing anything out with them.

We did notice at least one of the orange numbers on the driveway was marking a shell casing, but it's still not clear how that fits into what happened.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Police are investigating a suspected murder-suicide on the southwest side of Rapid City Tuesday night.

At a Wednesday morning press conference, a Rapid City Police Department Special Response Team representative outlined what happened.

Police responded to a shooting at 3 Woodrun Lane at around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, after they say a family member of the suspected shooter called them.

The man inside the apartment, 58-year-old Brad Swanson, told officers he had killed his girlfriend, 55-year-old Deb Ohlmacher.

Officers lost contact with Swanson, and when they entered the apartment, they found both Swanson and Ohlmacher with gunshot wounds.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

"There's one person that has control of the incident, and that's the suspect himself," Police Lt. James Johns said. "At any point in time, he can offer himself up and give himself up and be allowed to be taken into custody."

Officers believe they know the "what" in the case. What remains now for the investigation is the "why."

Stay with KOTA Territory News for the latest on this story.

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518 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD 57701

Telephone: 605.342.2000
Fax: 605.342.7305

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