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Press Release

Pine Ridge Man Charged with Three Murders

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Pine Ridge, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for three counts of First Degree Murder, three counts of Discharge of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence, and one count of Possession of Ammunition by a Prohibited Person.

Elijah West, age 24, was indicted on January 20, 2022.  He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann on April 15, 2022, and pleaded not guilty to the Indictment.

The penalty upon conviction is mandatory life in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The charges stem from West killing three people by shooting them near Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in January 2022.  The charges are merely an accusation and West is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

The investigation is being conducted by Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division.   Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Patterson is prosecuting the case.   

West was detained pending trial.  A trial date has been set for June 21, 2022. 

Updated April 19, 2022

Firearms Offenses
Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime