Published November 15, 2016
MANDAN, NORTH DAKOTA – The Bismark area countryside echoed with screams of horror on Saturday when a man pistol-whipped a woman from the window of his truck, then opened fire near Standing Rock Water Protectors praying near a Bakken Dakota Access Pipeline workspace.
A handful of Water Protectors approached the large white truck with a logo for Four Square Concrete LLC at a Bakken Dakota Access Pipeline workspace Saturday. The driver, a balding white middle-aged man in a red jacket and sunglasses, stepped out of his truck and brandished a pistol at the crowd before returning to his truck.
He began to advance his truck towards the crowd in a threatening manner.
The people directly in front of the truck shored their footing in order to protect the people in the crowd behind them. People jumped on the running boards on both sides in order to slow his progress. A woman jumped on the driver’s side, gripping onto his door.
The yet unidentified man entered a frenzied state, screaming and shouting, his face textured with engorged veins. Then he pulled out his gun.
In terror filled voices, Water Protectors yelled, “Gun! He has a loaded gun!”
He reached through the driver’s side window and pistol whipped the woman’s hands. She clung to the door as long as she could before he grappled her and threw her to the ground.
“I really feared for this woman that he was going to pound her or shoot her. He seemed totally out of control. He was in a white rage mode,” said witness John Willis, a photojournalist covering the action.
She landed on the ground, near the tires of his truck, and he sped away. The truck was so close to her, many Water Protectors mistakenly believed she was run over by the truck.
When he reached a hill above the crowd, he fired his gun over the heads of the Water Protectors. Protectors report six or seven shots. Spent bullet shells were collected at the scene.
The entire event was photographed and captured on cell phone video by witnesses on scene.
The gun has been tentatively identified as 9mm Taurus PT92.
No photographic evidence of armed Water Protectors has been found.
Water Protectors are a group of Native Americans and their allies led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe dedicated to ending the construction of the Bakken Dakota Access Pipeline. Water Protectors started prayer camps in and around the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in April. Protectors contend they are non-violent and unarmed.