LEON, Iowa — The Department of Criminal Investigation is investigating an incident in Leon that happened just after 3 a.m. Sunday when an officer shot a man during a traffic stop.
According to police, the man sprayed the officer with mace, and that’s when the officer opened fire. The man, said to be in his 50s, survived and is in the hospital.
The names of the two involved are expected to be released Monday afternoon.
Leon resident Anthony Hopper says he heard the shooting.
“I heard gunshots; they sound a lot different than fireworks. It was rapid fire, just pow! pow! pow! pow! and then a long pause, it seemed like 30 seconds, and then another pop! pop!” said Hopper.
It’s likely officers will want to talk with Hopper and his neighbors about what they saw and heard.
“So, in this case there was not a body cam. Had there been a body cam, of course that would be part we use. We’re going to interview people around the case. We’re going to look to interview the officer, we’re going to look to interview the person who was shot if that’s possible. Any witnesses, any other officers that showed up on scene, anyone who just happened to be in the area, we’re going to try and talk to those people to gather as much information as possible to paint the most complete picture for the county attorney,” said Adam DeCamp, special agent in charge.
DeCamp says anytime an officer shoots someone, they launch a criminal investigation.
“We then take those facts and report them to the Decatur County Attorney who will make a determination on if the officer acted in the scope of his job duties and in the scope of the law when he used force,” said DeCamp.
There’s a lot of speculation in the neighborhood on what happened before and after the shots were fired. Other neighbors who spoke with Channel 13 were worried that if the officer was maced, could he see what he was shooting at? Individuals were also concerned about stray bullets in the residential area.
DCI says the officer was sprayed with mace during the traffic stop but can’t comment on what led to the stop. The patrol car also did not have a camera. DeCamp says that it is important for everyone involved that the DCI does a thorough and independent investigation.
“When we come in as the DCI, we don’t work for that agency. We work alone. We’re the Division of Criminal Investigation. We’re the State of Iowa Department of Public Safety. Anytime an officer uses force, specifically deadly force, it is very important that we have all the details we can gather to provide the most informed information so the right decision can be made,” said DeCamp.
The officer is on paid administrative leave, which is standard operating procedure.