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Iowa Patrol Trooper Slain Amid Standoff04/11 09:10

   

   LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) -- A 27-year veteran of the Iowa State Patrol was shot and 
killed during a violent standoff with a man who fought back against agents in 
an armored personnel carrier and said he wanted to shoot other officers, 
authorities said Saturday.

   Sgt. Jim Smith was killed Friday night in Grundy Center as he and other 
officers entered the home of Michael Thomas Lang, 41, who fled there after an 
earlier police pursuit, authorities said.

   The standoff ended about midnight Friday when a team of highway patrol 
troopers in an armored personnel carrier smashed into the home. Lang fired 
multiple shots at the carrier. Three officers inside the carrier returned fire, 
hitting the man several times, authorities said.

   Lang was hospitalized in critical condition on Saturday. He was charged with 
first-degree murder and is being held on $1 million bond.

   Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Steve Bayens said Smith "died 
a hero" and "sacrificed himself protecting others."

   "We are hurting, we are angry," Bayens said. "But rest assured we're not 
broken. We will continue to shoulder the burdens of our communities while 
carrying our own. We will continue to stand in the gap of good and evil 
because, like Jim, that is what we are called to do."

   Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the division of criminal 
investigation, said events began at 7:22 p.m. on Friday when a Grundy Center 
officer tried to stop Lang for a traffic violation. Lang was known to Grundy 
City officers and was not supposed to be driving, he said.

   Lang fled but eventually stopped and assaulted the officer, Mortvedt said. 
During the assault, Lang yelled "Shoot Me" at the officer several times, and 
Lang disarmed the officer of his gun and stun gun and put him in a chokehold, 
he added.

   A Grundy County deputy arrived and told Lang to drop his gun. Lang instead 
yelled "Come get me" and got into his vehicle. He ended up at his home, and 
several law enforcement officers arrived, Mortvedt said.

   Lang's father arrived and told officers his son had multiple weapons in the 
house.

   Four Iowa patrol troopers, including Smith, and a K-9 unit, entered the 
home, and Smith was shot as officers tried to clear the house, he said. Two 
members of the team retreated into the basement while other officers pulled 
Smith out.

   Lang barricaded himself for several hours. Officers who were in the basement 
said Lang made several statements about shooting Smith and "expressed the 
desire to shoot more police officers," he said.

   About 11:50 p.m., a patrol team tried to enter the home in the armored 
personnel carrier and exchanged gunfire with Lang, Mortvedt said.

   No other officers were injured.

   Gov. Kim Reynolds said she plans to order flags flown at half-staff in 
Smith's memory.

   "It's with deep sorrow that we recognize the loss of Iowa State Patrol Sgt. 
Jim Smith, a courageous hero who died in the line of duty," Reynolds said in a 
statement Saturday. "Sgt. Jim Smith was a loving husband, father of two, and a 
pillar of the community. I along with the entire state of Iowa grieve for his 
family and friends as they try to cope with this devastating loss. Today we are 
once again reminded of the selfless sacrifices the brave men and women in 
uniform make. Let us never forget their bravery and that of their loved ones."

   Smith is the 11th trooper to die in the line of duty in the patrol's 
history. The last death was on Sept. 20, 2011, when Trooper Mark Toney died in 
a crash in Warren County as he tried to make a traffic stop.

 
 
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