Former Wyoming Police Sergeant Charged With Triple Homicide In South Dakota

Jay Ostrem, a former Gillette, Wyoming, police sergeant, has been charged with triple homicide for allegedly killing three people Monday in South Dakota.

Clair McFarland

May 29, 20243 min read

Jay Ostrem
Jay Ostrem (Turner County Sheriff's Office, Parker, South Dakota)

UPDATE: Former Gillette Cop Accused Of Triple Homicide Had Justified Shooting In Wyoming

South Dakota authorities charged a former Gillette, Wyoming, police sergeant Tuesday with triple homicide.

Jay Ostrem, 64, served in Gillette for several years, and later as mayor of Centerville, South Dakota, from about 2009-2011.

He has been arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the Monday night shooting deaths of three people in Centerville, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley announced in a Tuesday press release.

One of the victims was a neighbor who had allegedly sexually attacked Ostrem’s wife by rubbing his genitalia against her Thursday evening in their home while Ostrem slept, the South Dakota Searchlight reported.

Out Of Character

Former Gillette Mayor Frank Latta, who knew Ostrem while they both served the city, told Cowboy State Daily the attack is out of character for Ostrem, whom he’s considered a good friend and a nice man.

“My normal opinion of Jay would be that’s very out of character. He’s always been very clear-thinking,” Latta told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday. “Until all the facts come in, I am trying not to form an opinion.”

Latta said people should remember the U.S. Constitution’s premise that defendants are innocent until proven guilty.

“He’s been a very good police officer for the city of Gillette while he was here. Really kind of a jolly guy; jovial, joking, pleasant to be around,” said Latta. “It shocked me a lot when I heard it. Something had to trigger it; we need to look a little deeper.”

Cowboy State Daily could not immediately reach former Gillette Police Chief Ric Paul, who served alongside Ostrem, for comment.

Current GPD Chief Chuck Deaton did not immediately respond Wednesday to a Cowboy State Daily voicemail requesting comment. 

‘Raging Out Of The House’

Ostrem reportedly got up and “went raging out of the house” Monday when his wife told him about the alleged sexual attack of four days prior.

The South Dakota Searchlight reported another person who was shot and killed had called police to report the shootings just before being shot himself. 

A South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks conservation officer encountered Ostrem after the alleged fatal shootings, and an odor of consumed alcohol surrounded him. Ostrem complied with the officer’s commands to stop walking, and informed the officer he had a pistol in his pocket, reportedly.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter