United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that an Eagle Butte, South Dakota, woman convicted of Assaulting Federal Officers and Felon in Possession of a Firearm, was sentenced on November 5, 2020, by Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange, U.S. District Court.
Justin Twite, age 23, was sentenced to 68 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $200.
Twite was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 9, 2019. She pled guilty on August 18, 2020.
On December 21, 2018, Twite engaged Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Police Officers in a high speed chase that ended when her vehicle broke down in an open field. Law enforcement surrounded Twite’s vehicle. Twite assaulted the officers by discharging a pistol round from the vehicle, in the direction of law enforcement. Twite discharged the firearm a second time straight into the air. Realizing the firearm malfunctioned after the second shot, officers rushed to subdue Twite and place her under arrest. Twite was also prohibited from possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony level offense in January 2018.
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 is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
This case was investigated by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Elmore prosecuted the case.
Twite was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.