Attempted Use of Deadly Force by Iowa Police Officers Determined Justified

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FAIRFIELD, Iowa -- Fairfield Police officials say four months ago, a pair of officers' lives were being threatened, forcing them to attempt to use deadly force, all of it captured on dash cam video. "You pray every day that your officers aren't put in that position," said Captain Colin Smith.

Smith says it all began when a vehicle seen driving south on Iowa Highway 1 near Fairfield by 19 year Dakota Murray refused to pull over around 1 am June 2nd.  He says the vehicle's license plates did not match the car Murray was driving.

Murray who had a female juvenile passenger, finally lost control after a 10 minute chase, turning off of Iowa Highway 1 and onto King Trail Road in Van Buren County.  That's when police say events turned dangerous.
Cpt. Smith said, "You can hear the vehicle rev its engine and you can see the rear end is driven down and that it was heading towards Sergeant Wall."

Captain Smith says that while Sgt. Dan Wall fired one round and Officer Kathy Blumhagen fired four, no one was injured in the shooting.

Dakota Murray was booked on charges of aggravated eluding law enforcement, failure to obey stop signs, and excessive speed.  Both officers involved, were put on administrative leave while an internal investigation checked if they followed the departments use of force policy.  "They have to be defending them-self against severe bodily injury or death," said Smith when referring to the policy.

By June 10, they were cleared of any wrong doing.  " It was determined, they were firing in defense of Sgt. Wall to avoid Sgt. Wall from being struck by the vehicle," said Cpt. Smith.

Despite recent officer involved shootings across the nation receiving criticism Cpt. Smith believes there's no time to second guess.  "We try and get past that.  I mean, you can't think about the possible backlash when you are talking about your life being on the line.  We are proud of the way our officers handled themselves."

Dakota Murray was sentenced to 2 years in jail but is scheduled to get out after a year.  The juvenile passenger that was in the car with him, was not arrested.

Captain Smith says Sgt. Wall has been with the Fairfield Police Department six years and Officer Blumhagen has been with the FPD for four years.


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