- Associated Press - Thursday, July 21, 2016

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - The mother of a gunman who attacked people at a Rapid City homeless shelter before being killed by a police officer wants her son’s gun back.

Jackie Giago asked Judge Matthew Brown this week to give her the 9 mm handgun because it might help her come to terms with the death of her son, Earl Hicks, the Rapid City Journal reported (https://bit.ly/29OAwil ).

“The last thing Earl did was to buy this gun” for protection, she said. “I’d like it back for the closure.”

Authorities seized the gun after Hicks shot a man in the chest at the Cornerstone Rescue Mission on Feb. 28. The man recovered. Hicks, 44, was shot and killed by a police officer who responded to the scene. Attorney General Marty Jackley in March cleared Officer Barry Young of any wrongdoing, ruling that he was justified in firing his weapon.

Giago told Brown she hasn’t decided what she would do with her son’s gun. She said possibilities included selling it or turning it into a garden tool.

“I really don’t know. I just want some closure,” she said.

The attorney general’s office has asked Brown to deny Giago’s request, saying the gun is “derivative contraband” - a term applied to property whose possession is unlawful because it was used in a crime. Had Hicks lived, he could have been prosecuted for attempted murder or aggravated assault, Assistant State Attorney General Chad Callahan said.

Brown did not immediately rule.

A report from the state Division of Criminal Investigation said Hicks had a long history of depression and had voluntarily checked himself into a hospital at least twice for an unspecified psychotic disorder. It said Hicks had talked about killing himself about four months before the shooting.

In a handwritten letter to the court, Giago said her son was “a good kid, only had a mental illness that brought around this tragic end of his life.”

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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