Former Midland Police officer killed during shootout in South Dakota

Neighbors gathered in disbelief on Animosa Street in Rapid City, South Dakota Tuesday

One police officer is dead and two others are seriously injured during a shootout in South Dakota.

One of the victims is the son of a retired Midland County Undersheriff.

NBC25 talked with people close to the family about the tragedy.

Officer Ryan McCandless was only in contact with a group of four people for about ten minutes.

But what happened next will affect the Midland community for a lifetime.

Neighbors gathered in disbelief on Animosa Street in Rapid City, South Dakota Tuesday.

Three officers were shot, including a Midland native, after pulling over a group of four people during a routine traffic stop.

"At some point during the contact, the male suspect pulled a concealed pistol and fired several rounds. At least one of the officers returned fire and the suspect was struck," said Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender.

During the cross-fire Officer James Ryan McCandless was shot and killed.

He was just 28.

This has had a very big impact on our Midland County Sheriff's Office family, and it's a tragic day today, said Scott Stephenson who is the Midland County Jail Manager.

News of McCandless TM death hit his hometown of Midland hard.

As a former intern at the Midland County Sheriff's Office, and the son of a retired undersheriff, he was well-known and respected at a young age.

I think Ryan had a lot of pride, I TMm sure he did in being a police officer and following in his father's footsteps and continuing on that tradition, said Stephenson.

McCandless was a Midland Dow High School graduate and played football there from 1998-2001. His former football coach says he was a hard worker and a team player.

Never ever gave me one bit of trouble, enthusiastic, everything you'd ever want in a player. My feelings go out to the family, because I loved him. He was a great kid, said Frank Altimore, McCandless TM former football coach.

McCandless TM dedication overflowed into his career as a six year veteran with the Rapid City Police Department.

The police chief says losing him is like losing a member of their family.

He was recently engaged to be married. He recently bought a new house. Hobby farmed. He recently obtained his master's degree in public administration a couple of years ago. He told me that this among other things were in preparation to be chief of police someday when I retired. He was a very bright guy, very capable and probably would have made that goal a reality," said Chief Allender.

Now authorities will try to find out why McCandless TM bright future was cut too short.

Reports say one police officer, who is 27, is in critical condition.

Another officer was shot in the side of the face, and as of Tuesday night was in stable condition.

The suspect was also injured in the shootout. His condition isn't being released at this time.