Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks has closed the investigation into a fatal shooting of William Rich by two Cedar Rapids Police Department officers on Aug. 30. Maybanks’ decision follows a review of the shooting by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office that found the actions of Sgt. Bryson Garringer and Investigator Christopher Christy “were entirely legally justified.”
“The decision to fire at Rich was reasonable under the circumstances,” Special Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown wrote in an Oct. 4 letter to Maybanks presenting the conclusions of the review.
“I have reviewed the findings of the Iowa Attorney General’s Office regarding the officer-involved shooting that occurred on August 30, 2022, at the Inn Circle. I concur with the analysis used and the conclusions of the investigation,” Maybanks said in a written statement on Wednesday morning. “As a result of the findings, the Linn County Attorney’s Office will not conduct any further investigation and will not pursue criminal charges against Officers Sgt. Bryson Garringer or Investigator Chris Christy.”
Garringer and Christy were responding to 911 calls reporting a woman was being assaulted by her husband when they arrived at Inn Circle in southwest Cedar Rapids at approximately 1 a.m. on Aug. 30.
Body-camera footage from both officers released by CRPD on Sept. 8 shows Rich arguing with his wife outside at Inn Circle when the officers arrive. Christy approached Rich, told him to “knock it off” and grabbed his arm. Rich then attempted to pull free and began fighting the officers. Rich can be seen in the video holding a kitchen knife with an 8.46-inch blade.
After punches are thrown, Rich pulled away from the officers. As Rich started to move towards Garringer and Christy, they told him to “get back.” Rich appeared to be holding the knife in a threatening way, and the officers had their weapons out. Three shots were fired, and Rich fell down, still holding the knife.
From the time the officers arrive until the first shots are fired was approximately 50 seconds.
The officers told Rich to stay down, but he got back up, holding the knife with the blade pointed at the officers, as if ready to stab or at least threaten to do so. Four more shots were fired; Rich falls down again. He appears to be conscious and is still holding the knife. Christy bends over Rich and takes the knife away. Rich died at the scene “from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen area of his body,” according to Brown’s letter.
“Sgt. Garringer and Investigator Christy were interviewed by law enforcement,” Brown wrote. The investigation into the shooting was conducted by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at the request of CRPD.
“The interviews were detailed and comprehensive as to the officers’ actions and decisions,” according to Brown. “Both interviews are consistent with the video and with statements from other witnesses on the scene. Nothing in the interviews contradicted what was depicted by the video.”
After explaining the legal standard for a justified shooting, and restating the evidence the Attorney General’s Office had examined, Brown concluded his letter, “The Iowa Attorney General’s Office considers this matter closed.”
This was the second police shooting in Cedar Rapids in recent months the Linn County Attorney’s Office has determined was justified. On July 30, two CRPD officers shot and wounded a suspect after he pointed a shotgun at them at the end of an early morning car chase. Maybanks found the shooting was justified after determining the officers acted “to avoid injury or risk to their lives and [the shooting] was reasonable under Iowa law.”