DAVENPORT, Iowa -- One month after an officer-involved shooting left a man dead, and two officers injured, the Scott county Attorney said the use of force by officers was reasonable and justified.
The incident in question happened back on November 19, 2017, when police were called to a reported burglary in an apartment on East 12th Street. On Thursday, December 14th, Scott County Attorney Michael Walton described what authorities found in their investigation.
It was after 5 a.m. when Davenport officers Brenda Waline and Justin King responded to the burglary call and came upon three people who had broken into the apartment: two females and 26-year-old Matthew Tobin, explained Walton. While being questioned, Tobin gave repeatedly inconsistent answers regarding his name and birthdate, became agitated and had his hands in his pockets.
Officer King asked Tobin to take his hands out of his pockets and that’s when Tobin tried to escape, Walton said. Tobin then assaulted Officer Waline as she tried to apprehend him. Officer King then stepped in, which led to a scuffle on the ground between him and Tobin.
“… during the struggle Officer King realizes that Tobin has a weapon,” said Walton. Tobin shot his weapon three times during the struggle, hitting Officer King in the ear. Officer King then announced to Officer Waline that he had been shot and was losing consciousness.
As Officer King continued to struggle to gain control of the gun, Officer Waline shot Tobin. The struggle continued, leading Officer Waline to shoot a second and third time.
“… and that third shot is what ended the struggle,” Walton said. The shots hit Tobin on his upper left shoulder, the left side of his torso and the center of his chest. Paramedics determined that Tobin was dead at the scene.
Walton said that a parole warrant had been issued for Tobin in September. He also had a firearm and methamphetamine in his possession. Walton explained that this appears to add up to why Tobin chose to “attempt to kill the officers” instead of being apprehended.
All in all, Walton said the evidence shows that the use of force “was reasonable in this case and justified.”
“In my opinion and based on what I’ve seen I’d go beyond that and I’d say the action of these officers was heroic,” said Walton. “They were in a position where that if either one of them had given up or let up, that they very likely would be dead, at least one or the other.”
As of December 14th, the two officers were on injury leave, and were expected to transfer to paid administrative leave, according to Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski.
“They are where they need to be right now, and that’s at home,” Chief Sikorski said.
Walton said the investigation is not yet completely closed, and that they were still waiting on lab results from some forensic evidence.