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Bloomfield Police Officer Found to Have Acted Legally and Reasonably in Shooting Incident

Written by on August 9, 2023

BLOOMFIELD, Ia.- Based upon an investigation conducted by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Davis County Attorney Rick Lynch has determined that Bloomfield Police Officer Jared Wittmaack’s actions in an officer-involved shooting during a traffic stop were “objectively reasonable under the circumstances in order to protect his own life and was therefore legally justified under Iowa law.”

On Wednesday, July 26th, Bloomfield Police officers responded to a report of an erratic driver from a concerned citizen just before 9:30 pm.  The report stated that a white mustang was traveling south on Highway 63 and was weaving into and out of the oncoming lane of traffic.

Officer Wittmaack responded and observed the vehicle crossing the center line as he followed the mustang.  He initiated a traffic stop after the vehicle turned east on Arkansas Avenue. 

DCI investigators determined that both the body-worn and dash cameras were functioning properly throughout the incident.  That footage shows Officer Wittmaack approaching the vehicle and identifying both a driver and passenger.  After an initial conversation, the passenger was allowed to leave the scene.  Officer Wittmaack then asked the driver to exit the vehicle and move in front of his squad car.  It was at this point that a 17-year old male, who is related to the driver and is identified in the County Attorney’s report as J.M., walked up to the scene from behind Officer Wittmaack. 

As Officer Wittmaack interacted with J.M., he became increasingly agitated with the officer and the driver.  The officer reported this information to dispatch via radio.  The driver attempted to calm the teen down and physically moved between him and the officer.  At this point, the teen began to move aggressively toward the officer and pushed the driver to the ground in the process. 

As the teen advanced on Officer Wittmaack, the officer retreated backwards.  With the teen continuing to aggressively advance toward him, the officer deployed his taser, causing the teen to fall to the ground.  He was instructed to put his hands behind his back. But rather than comply, he rose off the ground and began to move aggressively toward the officer once again, with the officer again retreating backwards.

It is at this point that investigators say that the three individuals moved out of view of the dash camera.  However, both the officer and driver can be clearly heard telling the teen several times to stop and get off Officer Wittmaack.  After issuing a verbal warning, the officer discharged his service weapon at the teen, as he had the officer on the ground and was on top of him.  Immediately following the discharging of the weapon, medical assistance was called for and provided.  The teen was then transported to the local hospital.

Davis County Attorney Rick Lynch issued his decision on Tuesday following a review of all the available evidence and information collected from the DCI investigation.