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Details of stabbing, shooting still unclear

BY REGINA ZILBERMINTS and ABE TEKIPPE | JULY 27, 2009 7:15 AM

Law-enforcement officials continue to investigate a July 24 stabbing and shooting that left one man injured and another dead, though they hadn’t release any additional information by Sunday evening.

A plainclothes Johnson County deputy allegedly shot and killed a homeless man on the evening of July 24. The man had reportedly stabbed a patron of Hawkeye Hideaway bar, 310 E. Prentiss St., outside the establishment, Iowa City police confirmed early on July 25.

According to witnesses, the stabbing victim left the bar with his wife and saw a 26-year-old homeless man drop a bag of cans and bottles on the pavement, strewing trash across the parking lot in front of City Electric Supply, 315 E. Prentiss St.

The bar patron reportedly told the homeless to clean the bottles up. The homeless then allegedly stabbed him with a knife.

“Him being a nice guy — an Iowa City local guy — he likes to keep things clean,” said Kevin Grimm, a co-owner of Hawkeye Hideaway, who called the customer a longtime friend. “[He was] being a good neighbor.”

Police have not yet released the name of the stabbing victim.

Iowa City police said they received a report from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office about a fight in the area shortly after 7 p.m. that evening.

At the same time, dispatchers fielded several 911 calls reporting a man with a gun on the scene.

Responding officers identified the man with the gun as a Johnson County deputy in plainclothes.

While Iowa City police officials said the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office has jurisdiction in all parts of Johnson County — including Iowa City — the city tends to have its own officers patrolling the streets.

The deputy confronted the homeless man, but he allegedly ignored repeated orders to drop the knife.

Instead, he advanced “threateningly” toward the already injured bar patron, police said. The deputy then shot the homeless man once.

He has since died from his wound, police confirmed.

Witnesses disagreed over whether they heard the deputy identify himself as law enforcement before firing the single shot.

In fact, three men who refused to give their names, or even speak to local media in front of police, denied seeing a knife in the homeless man’s hands.

They said they pulled up in their car when they saw a small black man lying propped up against a still car. The deputy, who they said didn’t display his badge, told the man he would shoot if the man got up.

“He didn’t know he was a cop,” one of the witnesses said. “He was scared.”

The homeless responded with an expletive and stood up. He put his hands up, the men said, and stumbled sideways, apparently intoxicated. That’s when they said the deputy shot him.

The men agreed the first time they saw the deputy’s badge was when he held it up as Iowa City police began to arrive.

The bar patron who was stabbed underwent emergency surgery, police said on the afternoon of July 25.

Officials are still attempting to identify and locate the family of the man who was shot. They hadn’t released the names of any parties involved by Sunday.


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