Posted on: May 4, 2022, 02:24h.
Last updated on: May 4, 2022, 02:24h.
A South Dakota teenager charged in connection with a March 19 fatal shooting at a hotel-casino pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder Monday. Quincy Bear Robe, 19, is accused of firing the bullet that killed Myron Pourier, also 19, at the Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City, S.D.
Bear Robe is Native American, as was his alleged victim. In response to the incident, the hotel’s owner, Connie Uhre, banned all Native Americans from the hotel and its casino bar, Cheers, in a now deleted Facebook post.
The act sparked uproar, a civil rights lawsuit, and a spate of demonstrations against the hotel by Native American groups and their supporters.
Due to the killing that took place at the Grand Gateway Hotel on March 19, 2022… we will no longer allow any Native American on property,” read the post. “Rancher[s] and Travelers will receive a very special rate of $59.00 per night. Book direct.”
The post, written the day after the shooting, incorrectly implied that Pourier was already dead. In fact, he died on April 3, two weeks after the shooting.
Caught Fleeing Scene
Bear Robe had been charged with third-degree aggravated assault and second-degree committing or attempting to commit a felony with a firearm. Now he was facing a murder rap.
Hotel security spotted Bear Robe fleeing the scene in the early hours of March 19 after hearing gunshots, according to the arrest report. They alerted a female police officer who was in the hotel parking lot on a different call.
The lone officer pursued Bear Robe, who was armed with a .40-caliber handgun, and was able to make an arrest, according to the Rapid City Police Department.
Bear Robe later told investigators he shot Pourier because the latter was arguing with his girlfriend, an account corroborated by witnesses in the hotel room, according to court filings.
Investigators found .40 caliber shell casings in the room that matched the brand of bullets remaining in Bear Robe’s gun.
He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted on the murder charge.
The Grand Gateway closed in response to the backlash against its Native American ban but is now taking bookings.
The hotel’s general manager, Nick Uhre, told The Daily Beast last month that he, not his 77-year-old mother, Connie, was the owner of the hotel and there was no racist policy. However, Connie Uhre was listed as president and director of the hotel on its 2021 annual report.
The day after Uhre’s Facebook post, two members of the Indigenous activist group the NDN Collective said they separately tried to book rooms at the hotel to test the policy. Both were denied, according to the group.