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Press Release

Pine Ridge Man Found Guilty in Violent Shooting Spree

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that Lester Waters, Jr., age 38, was found guilty of 2 counts of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, 2 counts of Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, and 2 counts of Discharging, Brandishing, or Possessing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence following a federal trial in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Each assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  The two firearms charges each carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

Evidence at trial established Waters fired a pistol four times while at a party at a Pine Ridge residence on January 25, 2018.  Three of the bullets struck one of the victims, ultimately paralyzing him.  Another bullet struck a second victim in the face, causing extensive injuries. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and local communities to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

This case was investigated by the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather Sazama and Eric Kelderman prosecuted and tried the case.

A sentencing date was set for September 17, 2019.  Waters was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing.

Updated May 31, 2019

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime