Killing causes ‘race war’ in South Dakota

“My son is a fighter, you know.”

That’s how Myron Pourier Sr. describes 19-year-old son Myron Blaine, who died last Sunday following a hotel shooting in Rapid City, South Dakota, that ultimately plunged their community into turmoil.

Charges against a man arrested in the March 19 attack were increased this week, with Quincy Maurce Bear Robe now charged with second-degree murder. A large Pennington County grand jury reached an indictment Wednesday.

Bear Robe has previously been charged with aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, as well as committing or attempting to commit a felony with a firearm, a second-degree felony. He is being held in the Pennington County Jail in Rapid City on a $1 million fine.

A trial is scheduled for April 25. John Murphy, Rapid City’s attorney representing Bear Robe, was unavailable for comment; One person who answered the phone at his office said he was “overseas” and could not be reached.

If news of the shooting nearly three weeks ago didn’t attract much attention from the outside, the ugly reaction from those purported to represent the hotel where it took place has sparked a backlash. .

After the shooting, a woman named Connie Uhre suggested on Facebook that the Grand Gateway hotel – as well as Cheers, a sports bar and casino connected to the hotel – would ban all Native Americans.

“Due to killing [sic] taking place at the Grand Gateway Hotel on March 19, 2022… we will no longer be allowing any Native Americans to enter the property. Rancher and Travelers will receive a very special rate of $59.00 per night. Direct booking. ”

The post that falsely suggested Pourier Jr. dead.

The post was later taken down, but Republican Mayor Steve Allender posted a screenshot, Others shared it on social media and it all started from there.

The uproar eventually led to a federal discrimination lawsuit from the NDN Collective, a Rapid City nonprofit “specialized in Indigenous power-building,” with former U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson , son of former South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson, filed the lawsuit.

Attempts to contact Connie Uhre for comment on this story were not immediately successful and her son, general manager Nick Uhre, told The Daily Beast that there is no such ban. The family does not appear to have filed a response to the lawsuit in federal office.

A march and demonstration was held in Rapid City on March 23 to express outrage over the racist post. Tensions are a constant concern in the city and state, where 10% of the population is Native American and a long history of conflict between Native Americans and whites since Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer illegally stayed through the Black Hills — sacred Paha Sapa to Lakota — in 1874.

Myron Pourier Sr. The shooting was a nightmare, said the shooting, and witnessing the race issue that followed only added to his family’s pain.

From the very beginning, they still hoped their son would make it through a shooting incident that they attributed to Pourier Jr. trying to take care of a female cousin. Pourier Sr. and his daughter said relatives of the female student asked for assistance in retrieving personal items, including clothing, from a hotel room.

According to a probable cause affidavit to The Daily Beast, Rapid City police officers attended the Grand Gateway Hotel at 1721 N. LaCrosse St. around 4:30 a.m. on March 18 for a possible shooting.

“When officers arrived, they identified Myron Blaine Pourier Jr. with a gunshot wound,” reports the Rapid City Police Department. Andrew Randazzo said. “He was taken to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery. Myron remains in critical condition in hospital.”

Pourier Jr died 16 days later.

Rapid City Assistant Sheriff Scott Sitts told The Daily Beast that Police Samantha Williams was in the hotel parking lot on another call when an employee of Black Hills Patrol, a private security firm , shouting at her about hearing gunshots and a suspect running away. Williams, who was working alone while on patrol that night, pursued Bear Robe, armed with a .40-caliber handgun, according to court records, and made the arrest.

“In an interview, Quincy said he shot Myron during an argument Myron was having with Quincy’s girlfriend,” the report read. “This account has been corroborated by other witnesses. At the scene, .40 caliber artillery shells were found. The cartridge case was positioned to match the mark of the bullet remaining in Quincy’s pistol.

“A bullet was recovered from Myron during surgery. That bullet was sized to match a .40 caliber bullet, the report added.

While police arrested Bear Robe, a Black Hills Patrol agent located the hotel room where the shooting took place and found Pourier Jr., security personnel began medical assistance. , Sitts said.

“Everything he’s doing, he’s doing for this girl, to protect her from these people. And that’s all he did. That’s all he did and he got shot for it.”

– Myron Pourier Sr.

Myron Pourier Sr. said his son was staying in the hotel as part of a birthday celebration on his own weekend girlfriend. He added that his son is a moderate, only going into another hotel room to assist his scared cousin into it.

Senior Pourier, who was not present, said that, as he understood it, his son had been asked to help the young woman get clothes so she could leave. When he entered the room, Pourier said he was foretold, a conflict ensued.

“Everything he is doing, he is doing for this girl, to protect her from these people. And that’s all he did. That’s all he did and he got shot for it,” Pourier said. “He was probably only in that room for a minute, maybe two. There are a lot of things that need to come out.”

“She judged him by the color of his skin, not who he was. That woman turned it into a race war.”

– Pourier Sr.

Even when his son eventually lost his life in the hospital, Pourier Sr., 52, noted that he was still alive when Uhre made her comment.

“She judges him by the color of his skin, not who he is,” he told The Daily Beast. “That woman turned it into a race war.”

Days later, someone from Uhre’s family posted a comment expressing her grief over his son, Pourier said, and offered to arrange a meeting between the two families. He said he was so preoccupied with his son’s fight for life he didn’t know who sent it and didn’t respond.

The Grand Gateway has announced it will be closed “for spring cleaning” until May 16, but General Manager Nick Uhre told The Daily Beast Friday it is still accepting “direct bookings” registrations.

Uhre said he – not the 77-year-old mother – is the owner of the hotel and there is no ban on Native Americans. However, the federal lawsuit claims that Retsel Corp does business at the Grand Gateway Hotel and Cheers Sports Bar and Lounge. Retsel Corp.’s 2021 annual report. lists Connie Uhre as president and director of that organization.

Nick Uhre did not respond when asked about the apparent disparity in his statement.

He said his mother made “stupid comments in a fit of rage” after the March 19 shooting and that he has apologized for them. Nick Uhre said he has been praying for the Pourier family and asking people to donate to their fund to cover medical costs.

However, the lawsuit claims that on March 21, Connie Red Bear of Rapid City and a second Native American attempted to rent a room at the Grand Gateway. They were turned away, according to the lawsuit.

The next day, representatives for NDN Collective attempted to rent five rooms, and also denied, the lawsuit. When they asked to speak to a manager, someone they believe to be Nick Uhre asked them to leave the hotel, follow them out and make them feel threatened by his “threatening attitude” , according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also mentions armed bodyguards, one carrying an assault rifle, posted at the hotel on March 23. A photograph of the two men, one carrying a longgun, is attached. .

Uhre admitted to having had a discordant relationship with the city. In a lengthy email he sent to local media and shared with The Daily Beast, he said murder, assault, drug trafficking and use, and prostitution were problems. popular in the city and in the Grand Gateway. He said the police and Mayor Allender, a former police chief now in his third term, have ignored these issues for years.

Uhre asked Governor Kristi Noem to intervene, including asking her to remove Mayor Allender from office. “Steve Allender has sought to smear me or my family for our outspokenness regarding the leftist agenda,” Uhre wrote. South Dakota law cannot intervene like that.

But Pourier Sr is less focused on politics than on his son’s survival.

According to the father, doctors indicated that a few days after his son was brain dead and after taking life support equipment, he passed away at 3:24 pm on Sunday, April 3.

On Friday, Pourier Sr. told The Daily Beast that he wanted to cause crimes and controversies behind him. The family is looking forward to their son’s journey to the Spirit World, he said, adding that he wanted to remember the gentle, loving young man who shared prayers with him when they climbed the Black Elk Peak. The highest point in South Dakota, the area is named for the revered Lakota saint Black Elk, a relative of the Pourier family.

He’s still thinking about his son — not any racist hotelier. Pourier said his son smiled when he told his father he was going to Rapid City to play volleyball and spend time with his girlfriend. That was the last time he saw him.

“He is enjoying life,” Pourier said. “Do what he loves to do.” Killing causes ‘race war’ in South Dakota

Russell Falcon

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