State trooper killed during standoff with barricaded suspect in Iowa
A state trooper was fatally shot during a standoff between law enforcement and a barricaded suspect in an Iowa home Friday night, authorities said.
Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens identified the slain trooper as Sgt. Jim Smith, a 27-year veteran of the Iowa State Patrol.
“He was shot and killed, attempting to arrest a barricaded subject,” Bayens said during a press conference Saturday afternoon, adding that authorities “will do everything in their power” to make sure that the man who killed Smith is held to account.
The standoff that resulted in Smith’s death started after Grundy Center, Iowa, police attempted to pull over Michael Thomas Lang, 41, on a traffic violation around 7:22 p.m. Friday, according to Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director at the Division of Criminal Investigation.
Officers chased Lang after he fled from the police, he said. Lang later pulled over, exited his vehicle and assaulted the Grundy Center police officer who chased him, according to Mortvedt. He also disarmed the officer of his Taser, took his radio and put the officer in a chokehold, he said.
More authorities responded to the scene, including a deputy who drew his weapon and gave commands to Lang to put his hands up, according to Mortvedt. Lang did not comply and ran, officials said. The deputy pursued Lang, lost sight of him and later tried locating Lang at his residence. After learning he was there, the deputy requested assistance from other officers in the area. Lang’s father then arrived at the house and told officers that his son had multiple firearms inside the residence.
Around 8:55 p.m., four Iowa State Patrol troopers and a Harden County sheriff’s deputy K-9 unit entered the house through the garage. According to Mortvedt, the team announced themselves as law enforcement upon entering.
“As the entry team began to clear the upstairs of the residence, Sgt. Jim Smith was hit by gunfire coming from inside the residence,” he said. “After Sgt. Smith was shot, members of the entry team observed Lang emerge from the doorway, holding a black pump action shotgun.”
Authorities later opened fire, hitting Lang multiple times, after he had barricaded himself for several hours.
Smith was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead from a single gunshot wound, Mortvedt said. Lang was also taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery and is currently in critical condition.
Lang has been charged with one count of first-degree murder and a class A felony. He is also being held on a $1 million cash bond, Mortvedt said, adding that their investigation is still ongoing.
Smith is the first trooper to die in the line of duty since 2011, when Trooper Mark Toney died in a crash in Warren County as he tried to make a traffic stop.