Iowa Attorney General Closes Grundy Center Standoff Probe
The Iowa Attorney General's Office has determined that the officers who fired at a man charged with fatally shooting an Iowa State Patrol sergeant earlier this month were justified in doing so.
Records show Michael Lang was shot three times during the April 9 confrontation with police at his home in Grundy Center. Three Iowa State troopers and a Hardin County sheriff's deputy shot Lang in the head and chest after he opened fire on them. According to a letter of inquiry written by Special Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown, the four law enforcement officers who discharged their weapons “were entirely legally justified” in shooting at Lang. Brown concluded that because of Lang's actions, officers “had no other reasonable choice but to shoot."
The investigation was requested by Grundy County Attorney Erika Allen, who is prosecuting the case against Lang.
Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Jim Smith was killed during the standoff. Lang has been charged with first-degree murder, attempt to commit murder, and assault on a peace officer in Smith's death.
Smith was shot once in the upper body and once in the leg. Brown said Lang made numerous admissions that can be overheard by officers admitting to the shooting and threatening to do the same to other officers.
In the letter, Brown said the standoff began after a Grundy Center reserve police officer attempted to stop Lang for speeding. Lang fled from the reserve officer and a short pursuit occurred. When Lang finally stopped, he exited the vehicle and immediately became verbally and physically aggressive towards the officer, assaulted the officer, and then fled the area.
A short time later, Lang barricaded himself inside his home at 305 G Ave (Iowa Highway 175) in Grundy Center. The standoff with police lasted nearly five hours.
According to Brown, officers attempted to negotiate Lang's surrender after an armored vehicle was brought to the scene. When negotiations broke down, officers used the armored vehicle to make entry into the home. As they did, Lang began firing at the vehicle. Lang was eventually taken into custody.
Brown said officers were confronted with a person who was behaving violently and repeatedly threatening to use deadly force against them. He added that Lang was provided every opportunity to end the confrontation peacefully and chose not to do so.
In the letter, Brown wrote that the Iowa Attorney General’s Office now considers the investigation of the officer-involved shooting closed.