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UI graduate student killed after standoff with police

BY REBECCA MORIN | MARCH 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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A University of Iowa graduate student was killed Sunday evening during a standoff with police that also left three officers wounded.

North Liberty police responded to reports of a domestic dispute at the North Liberty Holiday Mobile Home Court. Upon arriving, police made contact with UI student Taleb Hussein Yousef Salameh, 28, and a female victim.

For yet unreported reasons, Salameh shot three police officers, who returned fire. The officers were transported to UI Hospitals and Clinics for non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. Salameh died at the scene.

According to records released Monday, Salameh applied for a gun permit in March 2010, but UI Dean of Students David Grady recommended that the Johnson County Sheriff's Office deny his application. Since Grady became dean of students in 2009, Salameh is one of only two students that Grady recommended the Sheriff’s Office deny a permit.

“I have serious reservations about Mr. Salameh’s intention to purchase a handgun,” Grady said in a letter to Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek in 2010. “… I respectfully request that you carefully consider this information when evaluating Mr. Salameh’s application for the gun permit.”

In the letter, Grady cited previous criminal convictions including an assault on another student that occurred out-of-state and that Salameh was visiting a counselor and psychiatrist as reasons that the Sheriff’s Office should delay his handgun application until at least 2011. According to the*Gazette, the Sheriff’s Office issued Salameh a gun permit in February 2010, despite Grady’s concerns.

UI officials disclose information to the Johnson County Sheriff's Office when a student applies for a gun permit.  The practice is currently suspended, following a recent Des Moines Register investigation into the practice.

UI spokesman Tom Moore said recommendations to hold an application are usually based on the potential for harm to their self or to others.

Records indicate Salameh had prior run-ins with the law. He was charged on Sept. 11, 2010, with public intoxication and assault causing injury.

According to an online profile on the Global Illumination Council website, Salameh is a “lifelong” Iowa City resident. He earned an undergraduate degree from the UI in 2009 and continued as a graduate student. He was enrolled full-time at the UI this semester in mechanical engineering.

He was a UI teaching assistant for Mechanical Systems Design and Fluid Mechanics during the spring of 2012 and a teaching assistant for Thermal Dynamics in the fall of 2012.

According to UI websites, Salameh was actively involved with his department, including research, presentations, and contributions to a publication with Albert Ratner, an associate professor of engineering. He is also listed as a member of one of the UI’s men’s soccer clubs as well as a 2007 Hawkeye Motorsports group.

According to an Associated Press interview with doctoral student Mohsen Ghamari, Salameh was doing "a very good job" with his teaching assistant position, was always on time, and "adored" his daughter.

Ghamari shared an office with Salameh, and although he said Salameh quit school for a semester after suffering from depression, he described his colleague as smart and friendly.

"As far as I know, he was a fine guy," Ghamari told the Associated Press. "I'm shocked."

According to his Global Illumination Council profile, the father of a young daughter was also interested in gardening, quantum mechanics, and spirituality.

“I am Taleb. I was born in Iowa City, Iowa,” he wrote on his Global Illumination Council profile page. “I have lived here my entire life. I am currently finishing my master’s in mechanical engineering. I have a beautiful 7-month-old daughter. I’ll leave it at that for now.”


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