DES MOINES, Iowa — According to information and edited audio provided by Des Moines police, Officer Ian Lawler pulled over a car on an unrelated traffic stop on southbound Merle Hay Road near Aurora Ave. at around 10:07 Tuesday night. That’s when police say 28-year old Ryan Bolinger pulled up next to Lawler’s squad car so close, police say, Lawler couldn’t even get out. Police say Bolinger then got out and started dancing erratically. On the audio tape provided by police, officer Lawler can be heard saying, “He pulled up next to me at a traffic stop and started running around on the highway and then jumped back in the car. Taking off.”
Police say officers Lawler and Vanessa Miller went after Bolinger. “Copy. Southbound approaching Douglas.” Miller says, “101 I’m gonna call it. Going through douglas continuing southbound.” A dispatcher asks, “One one what’s your speed?” and Miller replies, “He’s 35 right now. Hanging out right at speed limit.”
At Urbandale Avenue Bolinger did a u-turn and stopped. Officer Lawler, according to police, stopped his squad car in front of Bolinger’s car and Miller stopped behind it. Police say Bolinger got out of his car and headed toward Miller’s squad car, so she opened fire, shooting him through her car window. “102 shots fired.” Lawler can be heard saying, “Need rescue. Copy 102 shots fired. All cars assist.”
Police say officer miller did not report seeing a weapon and no weapon was found at the scene. The Des Moines Police Department policy on when to use deadly force is vague. It simply says: “The decision to use deadly force shall rest solely with the employee`s individual judgment.”
Des Moines Police Sergeant Jason Halifax explains, “It all has to do with how an officer is perceiving the situation and what they are feeling at the time. Its what they are seeing, its what they are experiencing. There`s not a hard fast, this is when you shoot this is when you don`t ”
According to Iowa code, “The use of deadly force is only justified when a person cannot be captured any other way and either:
1. the person has used or threatened to use deadly force in committing a felony or;
2. the peace officer reasonable believes the person would use deadly force against any person unless immediately apprehended.
Bollinger worked at the Iowa State Fair.
“It’s been a really rough day.” says his friend and supervisor, Justin Kendall, “You know, a few guys early this morning kinda speculating and then when the news was actually released there’s a lot of heart ache around here.”