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Grundy Center is NE of Des Moines, closer to Waterloo.

27-year veteran of Iowa State Patrol killed in Grundy Center standoff

Andrea May Sahouri
Des Moines Register
Updated 3:34PM April 10

An Iowa State Patrol trooper was killed during an attempt to end an hours-long standoff with an armed man in Grundy Center late Friday, the Iowa Department of Public Safety said.

Authorities confirmed Sgt. Jim Smith, a 27-year veteran of the Iowa State Patrol, was fatally shot attempting to arrest a barricaded suspect, identified as Michael Thomas Lang, 41, of Grundy Center.

Lang, who was known to local law enforcement, has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held in jail on a $1 million dollar cash bond. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds during the standoff and is currently hospitalized in critical condition, police say.

"Sgt. Jim Smith died a hero ... he sacrificed himself protecting others," said Stephan Bayens, the commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety, at a 2:30 p.m. news conference Saturday at the Grundy Center High School Commons.

Mitch Mortvedt of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation described a tense chain of events leading to the killing.

At about 7:22 p.m. on Friday, Grundy Center Police Department attempted to conduct a traffic stop of Lang, who, according to Mortvedt, was recognized by officers who believed he was barred from driving.

Lang instead allegedly fled from police and a chase ensued into south east Grundy Center.

Mortvedt said Lang then pulled over on 250th Avenue, exited his vehicle, and allegedly assaulted a Grundy Center police officer while yelling "shoot me," multiple times. Lane allegedly disarmed the officer of his taser and radio and put the officer in a chokehold.

A Grundy County deputy responded to the scene and allegedly witnessed Lang. The deputy drew his firearm, according to Mortvedt, and commanded Lang to put his hands up. Lang instead allegedly yelled "come get me," and fled the area.

Law enforcement eventually lost sight of Lang, and proceeded to his home in Grundy Center. There, officers observed Lang's vehicle and Lang entering his home through his garage.

Mortvedt said Lang's father arrived and informed officers that "his son had multiple firearms inside residence, including a .410 caliber shotgun."

A perimeter was set up around the house and surrounding areas, and at about 8:55 p.m., an "entry team" consisting of four additional Iowa Sate Patrol officers and a Hardin County Sheriff's Department canine unit responded to the scene, Mortvedt said.

Officers announced themselves, and entered the home, Mortvedt said. As the entry team was clearing the upstairs of the residence, Sgt. Smith was shot by a bullet coming from inside the residence, Mortvedt said.

"Members of the entry team observed Lang emerge from the doorway holding a black pump-action shotgun," Mortvedt said, adding that members of the entry team then removed Sgt. Smith from the residence and others retreated to the basement.

Entry team members allegedly heard Lang make "several statements" about shooting Sgt. Smith and "expressed the desire to shoot more police officers," Mortvedt said.

Lang proceeded to barricade himself, according to Mortvedt, for a few more hours. At about 11:50 p.m., "an Iowa State Patrol tactical team attempted to make entry into the residence with a armored personnel carrier."

Thats's when Lang allegedly shot more rounds at the carrier, and members of the tactical unit fired shots back at Lang, striking him multiple times.

Lang was then apprehended by police and transported to the hospital, Mortvedt said. No other injuries have been reported.

The Iowa State Patrol trooper killed in Grundy Center is the 11th trooper in Iowa State Patrol history to be killed in line-of-duty, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety. The last time a trooper was killed was Sept. 20, 2011 when Trooper Mark Toney died in a crash in Warren County as he attempted to make a traffic stop.

Friday's fatal shooting is the second time in Iowa State Patrol history a trooper was fatally shot. The first was on April 29, 1936 when Trooper Oran "Nanny" Pape, who was one of the "Original 50" Iowa patrolmen, was shot by a suspect believed to have stolen a vehicle, according to the Department of Public Safety.

The DPS headquarters in Des Moines is named after Pape.
Posts: 14938 | Location: Eastern Iowa | Registered: May 21, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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RIP, Sgt Smith, and prayers for the family.


Texan by choice, not accident of birth
Posts: 25307 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: May 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If I understood correctly, the subject was alone in the residence when the first entry team went in—?

“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
— Thomas Paine
Posts: 43919 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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RIP Sgt Smith. Very sad.
Posts: 579 | Location: New Jersey  | Registered: May 03, 2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Today the thin blue line is a mite thinner.

Thoughts and prayers, Sgt Jim.

G*d bless.
Posts: 10465 | Location: UK, OR, ONT | Registered: July 10, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Just because you can,
doesn't mean you should
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Originally posted by sigfreund:
If I understood correctly, the subject was alone in the residence when the first entry team went in—?

My thoughts exactly.
Wait it out or use a flame thrower to clear the house (yes, I'm kidding, sort of).

Avoid buying ChiCom/CCP products whenever possible.
Posts: 6883 | Location: NE GA | Registered: August 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Why did they enter, they could have waited him out and no one would be dead.
Posts: 144 | Registered: February 12, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Savor the limelight
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The article above makes no mention of him being alone or not. It does say that during his first encounter with an officer that evening, he disarmed the officer and put him in a choke hold. I believe most articles I’ve read where an officer’s life has been immediately threatened have indicated that this behavior elicits an immediate response by the police.
Posts: 6926 | Location: SWFL | Registered: October 10, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Knowing is Half the Battle
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Posts: 2198 | Location: Iowa by way of Missouri | Registered: July 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I know this is second guessing but it sure sounds like several police officers screwed up... the guy should have been shot way before he ever got home.
Posts: 2326 | Location: Greenville, SC | Registered: January 30, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, Lang had one officer in a choke hold, second officer should have shot him.

Posts: 3367 | Location: West coast | Registered: March 31, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I wasn’t there so I can’t judge the correctness of the officers’ actions. Beyond that, the immediate execution that may sometimes feel like it would be the appropriate response when MMQing (Monday Morning Quarterbacking) from the sidelines might not be well received by the public or the chain of command. Yeah, I know that in a truly just world there would be an awful lot of lightning bolts removing a lot of two legged problems, but we live in an imperfect world and have to figure out how to make the best of it...
Posts: 5665 | Registered: February 23, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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