DES MOINES- In a report issued today, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office has concluded that the August 12, 2023, fatal shooting of Bradley Van Heeswyk by a Pleasant Hill police officer was “legally justified."
The Attorney General’s conclusion was based on a review and investigation by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. The investigation found that on the afternoon of August 12, Polk County dispatch received multiple 911 calls reporting an active shooter armed with an AK-style rifle in a Pleasant Hill residential area. In several of the calls, gunshots were heard in the background. The active shooter was later identified as Van Heeswyk.
Officers from various Des Moines-area law enforcement agencies tactically approached the house, where they found Van Heeswyk standing nude in the backyard and firing gunshots at the residence. Bodycam footage showed that a Pleasant Hill officer ordered Van Heeswyk to drop his firearm. When he refused to do so, the officer fired one shot at Van Heeswyk and immediately called for EMS. Van Heeswyk was later pronounced dead at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.
The owners of the Pleasant Hill home were not present at the time and have no connection to the shooter. Van Heeswyk had previously been in a relationship with a former resident of the house. Before the officers arrived, Van Heeswyk had shot and killed the current homeowners’ two German Shepherds and caused observable property damage. He was also armed with a .9 mm handgun and knife. Van Heeswyk’s reckless firing presented an active threat to not only the officers, but everyone in the surrounding neighborhood.
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.
A copy of the report is available here.
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Alyssa Brouillet | Press Secretary