Man fatally shot by BIA officer on Spirit Lake Reservation

The FBI confirmed that 44-year-old David Suarez was killed by gunfire in an altercation with Bureau of Indian Affairs officers on Wednesday, March 17. Suarez is the third person to be killed by BIA officers in the Dakotas in seven months.

Man fatally shot by BIA officers on Spirit Lake Reservation

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. -- A 44-year-old man is dead after a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer shot him on the Spirit Lake Reservation Wednesday afternoon, March 17.

The FBI confirmed that David Suarez was killed following a vehicle pursuit and subsequent altercation after the vehicle stopped. Three other people were in the vehicle, and no one else was injured, according to the FBI.

In an interview with WDAY reporter Matt Henson, FBI spokesman Kevin Smith declined to confirm whether Suarez had a weapon or whether weapons were found in the vehicle.

The investigation into the shooting remains open and active, and no further information was released. Representatives from the Bureau of Indian Affairs declined to comment and deferred to the FBI, and members of the Devils Lake and Fort Totten Police Departments could not be reached for comment.

Wednesday's incident is the second fatal BIA-involved shooting in North Dakota in the last seven months.


Last August, 35-year-old Brandon Laducer was shot and killed by BIA officers in his Belcourt home on the Turtle Mountain Reservation. An FBI spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment on the state of that investigation, but a Bismarck NBC affiliate reported that a BIA officer was placed on leave in the wake of the shooting.

Earlier this week, a professional fighter was killed by a BIA officer on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota. MMA fighter Ryan White Mountain-Soft, 30, was fatally shot in McLaughlin, S.D., on Sunday, March 14.

Similar to Suarez's death, official information regarding the deaths of Soft and Laducer remains extremely limited as the FBI and BIA have declined to release additional information.

"Once we get on those scenes and try to process those scenes, we don't want to give out any other information, and here's why," Smith told WDAY. "There are certain things that happen on these scenes that only certain people know, and to expand that sphere of knowledge kind of dilutes the investigation as it goes forward. We need to keep things tight to the vest right now, and talk to the people who were involved there and see exactly what happened."

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