A Council Bluffs police officer acted lawfully and was defending himself when he shot a man who fired a handgun at him outside a convenience store, the Pottawattamie County attorney has found.
Matt Wilber has cleared Officer Mike Roberts of any wrongdoing in the May 2 shooting of Jimmy Carr, 34, of Omaha. Wilber announced his decision Monday after reviewing a report from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
Carr, who was shot in the left hip and treated at an Omaha hospital, was charged Tuesday in Pottawattamie County with being a felon in possession of a firearm, first-degree robbery and attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. A judge ordered Carr to be held on $2 million bail at the Pottawattamie County Jail.
“Officer Roberts had just been shot at by Carr, who was in the process of trying to pick up the gun he had just dropped,” Wilber said in a written statement. “Officer Roberts reasonably believed that Carr had tried, and was actively trying, to kill him. For that reason, the discharge of Officer Roberts’ firearm was justified under the circumstances.”
Wilber, who said he reviewed video surveillance and photographs from the scene, also said that it was “of great significance” that Roberts did not continue to shoot at Carr when he was moving away from the gun on the ground. Wilber identified the gun as a Ruger LCP .380.
Roberts had been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation. It’s unclear whether he has returned to duty.
Wilber said Roberts came into contact with Carr at the Bucky’s gas station at 3434 Nebraska Ave., about 8 a.m. May 2. A clerk told the officer, who had stopped for coffee on his way to work, that Carr was trying to steal a gas can from the convenience store.
Roberts confronted Carr in front of the store and told him to take his hand out of his pocket, but Carr did not comply, Wilber said. Roberts then told Carr to put his hands behind his back.
“Carr sort of flailed the gas can up and near Officer Roberts’ head and Roberts moved to close the distance between himself and Carr,” Wilber said. “Carr again sort of raises the gas can between the two of them and Roberts rushes forward and shoves Carr in the chest and back onto a pallet of what appears to be windshield wiper fluid.
“A shot is simultaneously fired from a gun coming out of the front pocket or waistband of Carr’s pants, and then the gun flies out of Carr’s hand and lands on the ground to the west.”
Wilber said video shows Carr moving toward the gun and Roberts shoving him again. As Carr is reaching the area of the weapon on the ground, Roberts fires two shots, with one of the shots hitting Carr.
As Carr hobbled around the corner of the store, Roberts remained near the gun on the ground because another man with Carr, who had not been involved in the altercation, was still at the scene, Wilber said. Roberts called in the incident, and two patrol officers apprehended Carr in the parking lot of the Comfort Suites next door to the Bucky’s.