State opens investigation into ICPD shooting behind Second Act

Photo by Matty Ring via Flickr.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) announced on Friday it is investigating an incident from Thursday morning in which two Iowa City Police Department officers fired their guns, and an individual was shot.

According to a written statement from the DCI, “On Thursday, May 9, 2019, at approximately 2:27 a.m., officers with the Iowa City Police Department responded to a burglary alarm at a business located at 538 Olympic Court. During the course of the incident, two Iowa City Police officers discharged their firearms. One person was struck and is currently hospitalized. No officers were injured.”

The officers were responding to the burglar alarm at The Second Act, Iowa City’s oldest consignment and vintage clothing store. A window was broken at the store, and its cash register was stolen. The shooting took place behind The Second Act.

Neither ICPD nor the DCI has released the names of the officers involved in the shooting or the individual who was shot, or details on the incident. The officers have been put on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated.

ICPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Derek Frank told Little Village the DCI initiated its investigation at the request of ICPD Chief Jody Matherly.

“It’s our standard procedure,” Frank said of the request.

Thursday was the first time an ICPD officer has discharged a weapon in the line of duty since 2011, according to Frank.

On Dec. 4, 2011, ICPD Officer Aliro Arcenas shot Chad Newmire. Officers were at Newmire’s Iowa City home, in response to reports from Newmire’s relatives that he might be suicidal.

When police arrived at Newmire’s home on Summit Street, officers discovered he had a gun tucked into his waistband. Officers attempted to talk with Newmire and get him to go to the hospital, but fired at him when he reached for the gun.

“One officer deployed less lethal bean bag rounds at the man and another officer deployed a Taser at him. A third officer fired a handgun at the man and stopped the man from obtaining his gun,” ICPD said in a press release at the time.

Newmire was hospitalized, but recovered from the shooting. Following an investigation, Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness ruled that Arcenas’ actions were justified.

In November 2014, there was an accidental shooting involving the ICPD. An officer shot himself and another officer standing near him while he was cleaning his gun. Both officers were treated for “non-life-threatening” injuries at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, according to a departmental press release about the incident.

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