WATERLOO — One man is dead following an officer-involved shooting in Waterloo early Tuesday.
Police said the 42-year-old man was shot when he rammed an occupied squad car following a vehicle chase around 3:30 a.m.
The Iowa Division of Criminal investigation is looking into the fatal shooting, which is standard practice. The results of such investigations are typically forwarded to local prosecutors and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office for further review to determine if criminal charges are warranted.
A friend of the deceased is questioning the authorities’ version of what happened.
“There was no commands of put your hands out the window. … There was no commands to get out. There was no nothing. That cop crashed into him, got out and fired five or six shots,” said Auston Bowman, who lives a block over and said he witnessed the shooting.
“I was standing right here when they aired him out,” he said.
Police said a patrol officer attempted to stop the man after noticing him driving erratically in the area of Colorado and Arizona streets and almost striking the squad car.
Other officers responded, and the man led police on a short chase in the blocks surrounding his Madison Street home. He was blocked in by police in the gravel alley behind his house. The driver allegedly ignored police commands to exit his red Chevrolet Silverado pickup and then rammed an occupied squad car head on, prompting an officer to open fire, according to the police account.
At least four bullet holes could be seen in the pickup’s windshield.
But Bowman said he never heard police talk to the driver or order him out of the vehicle.
Bowman said he first knew something was up around 3:20 a.m. when he heard the man driving around the neighborhood in his truck with his music blaring.
“So I came out to see what was going on. I see him speed by, he went around the block a couple of times and came back, there was about 10 cops chasing him,” Bowman said.
Officers boxed in the truck, and Bowman said he heard the driver tell the officers to move spike strips so he could park in his driveway, which is off the alley.
“They had him stopped in the alley. There was three cruisers behind him, two in front of him. They had him stopped. The guy got out of his car and fired five or six shots into his f*ing windshield,” Bowman said.
Medics with Waterloo Fire Rescue took the driver to UnityPoint-Allen Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The officer involved has been placed on critical incident leave pending the outcome.
Investigators also searched the driver’s home and left with items in a paper bag and a plastic storage box.
This is the second officer-involved shooting for Waterloo police this year.
In April a Waterloo officer shot 44-year-old Marcelino Alvarez-Victoriano when Alvarez engaged sheriff’s deputies with what turned out to be a BB gun at the foot of the Sixth Street Bridge.
Alvarez survived but was paralyzed from the waist down, according to friends. Authorities filed misdemeanor assault charges, but he has yet to be arrested. In September, Alvarez filed a suit against the city alleging negligence.