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January 18, 2023

Iowa Attorney General’s Office Concludes Des Moines Police Officers Acted with Legal Justification in Shooting

DES MOINES - The Iowa Attorney General’s Office has completed its review of the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old male, T.J., by three Des Moines police officers that occurred on December 26. In a report issued today, the office concluded that the officers “acted with legal justification” and that “no criminal charges are warranted.”  

The report is issued under the Attorney General’s independent authority under Iowa Code section 13.12 to investigate or prosecute conduct of law enforcement that results in death.  

“Every day, Iowa law enforcement officers put themselves in harm's way to keep us safe, not always knowing what will happen next,” said Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird. “In this particular case, four Des Moines police officers entered the scene knowing a perpetrator was armed. After refusing to comply with the officers’ requests to put the weapon down, they were forced to act, protecting themselves and those around them.”  

The Attorney General’s conclusion was based on a review and investigation by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, including body camera videos by all the officers involved in the shooting. The report finds that on December 26, Des Moines police officers responded to a 911 call around 12:30 AM from T.J.’s stepfather, who reported that T.J. was armed and had “pulled” a gun on him. Four officers quickly arrived on the scene wearing body cameras and found T.J. in his grandmother’s apartment. Both T.J.’s grandmother and friend were also present in the residence.  

From the moment the officers entered the residence, it was visible on the officers’ body cameras that T.J. was armed with a handgun and pointing it in their direction. After nearly five minutes of negotiations and over 70 pleas by the officers, T.J.’s grandmother, and T.J.’s friend for him to put his handgun down, he raised it at the officers and was shot a total of 14 times by the police on-site.   

A copy of the report is available here.  


For More Information:

Alyssa Brouillet, Press Secretary


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