Friend describes attempted murder suspect as 'happy go lucky'


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A high-school friend of University of Iowa student Branden Plummer said the attempted-murder charge against his friend is "absurd."

Taylor Webb, 20, was friends with Plummer at Valley High School in West Des Moines and lived with him in Iowa City for two years while attending Kirkwood Community College.

"I know that he's a really good kid, you know, and he means well; he just made a really stupid mistake," Webb said. "I don't think he deserves to go to prison for 25 years."

Webb, who said he still keeps in contact with Plummer, described him as a "really likable guy," adding he "never knew one person who didn't like the kid."


Plummer, 20, was charged with attempted murder after CrimeStoppers received an anonymous tip on Tuesday.

Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said police believe Plummer was obstructing traffic in at the intersection of Linn and Burlington Streets on Nov. 18 when Sgt. Brian Krei — a 29-year-veteran — intervened.

The police report said Plummer choked Krei and slammed his head against the concrete before fleeing the scene. Krei briefly lost consciousness, Brotherton said.

Webb, who was not with Plummer at the time of the incident, said such behavior is unusual for his high-school friend.

Webb said Plummer was a good student who played for his high-school soccer team, and he was a "happy-go-lucky guy" even in the midst of difficult times.

"His father died of cancer about a year ago," Webb said. "It didn't seem to bother him too much. It wasn't an unexpected death, so he handled it real well. He didn't seem to have any sort of personal changes with that, personality changes or anything like that."

The charge is not Plummer's first, according to online court documents.

Filings listed under Polk county show Plummer had been given a speeding ticket as well as being charged with failure to maintain control and operating while intoxicated.

Brotherton said she could not confirm whether Plummer was intoxicated at the time of the Nov. 18 incident.

"In that time of night, is it likely that someone's been drinking? Yes," Brotherton said. "But at this point in time, is it confirmed that this person was drinking? No."

Brotherton said investigators told her the tipster came forward after seeing a wanted poster of Plummer at Kum 'n' Go, 25 W. Burlington St.

"We have had successful tips in the past," Brotherton said. "We consider it a very useful and beneficial tool for the Police Department, but there's still a lot of police work that needs to be done once the tip comes in."

UI spokesman Tom Moore said the university "takes matters such as this very seriously," and the Division of Student Life will have to review the Code of Student Life to determine whether Plummer faces any university consequences.

Speaking on behalf of Dean of Students David Grady, Moore said incidents such this in the student body are "relatively rare."

Wednesday evening, Plummer was being held at the Johnson County Jail on a $100,000 bail. He made his initial court appearance Wednesday via television but did not enter a plea.

The Daily Iowan attempted to contact Plummer's roommates Wednesday but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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