Police fatally shoot 17-year-old during traffic stop in North Dakota’s Bismarck

Nov 13, 2023, 8:45 AM | Updated: 2:12 pm

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Police shot and killed a 17-year-old early Sunday during a traffic stop in a mall parking lot in Bismarck, North Dakota, while investigating the teen in connection with a reported shooting.

Police responded about 12:15 a.m. Sunday to gunfire in the area, according to a news release. Officers determined a shooting occurred near a hotel. Police subsequently began investigating 17-year-old Nicholas Bruington, of Bismarck, as the prime suspect, according to Lt. Luke Gardiner.

About 1:50 a.m., officers stopped a vehicle in which Bruington was a passenger, near the Scheels sporting goods store in the Kirkwood Mall parking lot. Police said Bruington “had a firearm and did not follow commands.”

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Bruington pointed the gun at police. None of the officers were injured.

Three officers shot at Bruington. Officers performed life-saving procedures until Bruington was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting, per the police department’s protocol. The three officers are on administrative leave, pending the probe. The news release did not identify them. Police said the other juvenile was not injured.

Bruington attended high school in Bismarck for a week or less at some point last year, but he was not enrolled in the public school district for the current year, Bismarck Public Schools spokesman Steve Koontz told The Associated Press. The district is prepared to offer support for students, if needed, in the wake of Bruington’s death, Koontz said.

Squad cars and body cameras recorded video, Gardiner said. He didn’t say whether the cameras captured the events of the shooting. He referred queries to the bureau.

North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, whose office oversees the bureau, did not immediately respond to a text message for questions about the shooting. The Associated Press was not able to leave a voice message due to his mailbox being full.

The last fatal police shooting in Bismarck was in January 2020, Gardiner said.

Earlier this year, a Fargo police officer shot and killed a gunman who had opened fire on other officers and a bystander as police responded to a routine crash along a busy street. The gunman killed one officer and wounded two others and a bystander before the fourth officer fatally shot him, ending the attack, which authorities have said appeared to be part of a much bigger plan.

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Police fatally shoot 17-year-old during traffic stop in North Dakota’s Bismarck