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Sword-Wielding Teen Shot to Death by Police

A high school student and his mother are dead and three others injured after a sword attack involving police in Huron, S.D. John Gilchrist, a 16-year-old sophomore at Huron High School, was shot to death by police after attacking an officer with a sword early Friday morning. The officers then searched the home to find the body of the boy’s mother, Betty Gilchrist, 49.

Four Huron police officers arrived at 1461 McDonald Drive at 5:48 a.m. in response to a 911 call. At the home they found Josh’s 14-year old sister, Rebekah Gilchrist, injured with cuts to her arms and hands.

Police then encountered Josh Gilchrist who, according to officers on the scene, was wielding a three-foot long sword. Gilchrist then turned on the police and struck officer Dan Kight multiple times with the sword, prompting two of the officers to open fire on Gilchrist, killing him.

After shooting Gilchrist police found the dead body of the boy’s mother and an injured foreign-exchange student who had been living with the family.

Kight, 34, was treated for his injuries at Huron Clinic and released. The foreign-exchange student was treated at Huron Regional Medical Center and released.

Rebekah Gilchrist was taken to a hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. “To all those concerned and praying for Bekah, she is stable and improving with non- life-threatening injuries," her father, Jon Gilchrist, said.

The two officers who fired their guns are on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation by South Dakota authorities. No motive for the attacks is known at this time.


I was a family friend of the Gilchrists'. I just wanted to say that Bekah and Jon, you are still in our prayers. We love you and hope you have love forever. God Bless!