STATEMENT OF MUSCATINE COUNTY ATTORNEY ALAN R. OSTERGREN AND MUSCATINE COUNTY SHERIFF C.J. RYAN INTO
INCIDENT ON JANUARY 15, 2016
On January 15, 2016, there was an officer-involved shooting in Muscatine, Iowa involving a Muscatine County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Muscatine Police Department officer. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation has led an investigation into the incident.
The DCI investigation shows that Timothy Seefeldt was the operator of a 2008 Hummer H3 which had been stolen earlier that evening in Muscatine. Dep. Eddie Cardenas located the H3 and attempted to effect a traffic stop. He was assisted by Muscatine Police Department Off. Anthony Arnaman. Seefeldt attempted to elude the law enforcement vehicles but the pursuit ended quickly when Seefeldt drove into the parking lot of a motel which was a dead end.
Despite being stopped, Seefeldt refused to obey Dep. Cardenas’s commands. He abruptly placed the H3 in reverse and backed up. He struck Dep. Cardenas’s squad car with the front door of the H3. Dep. Cardenas perceived this action as threatening – both to himself and to Off. Arnaman. Dep. Cardenas fired his duty weapon in response to the threat. Seefeldt then struck four parked cars in the motel parking lot before stopping again. Dep. Cardenas fired his duty weapon again when he believed that Seefeldt was placing the vehicle in drive in order to move forward at him.
Seefeldt sustained a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the upper torso as a result of Dep. Cardenas’s actions. He surrendered to Dep. Cardenas and Off. Arnaman. He was later transported to Trinity Hospital-Muscatine and then to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He left the UIHC against medical advice.
County Attorney Ostergren stated “I have considered the application of Iowa law to the actions of Dep. Cardenas. A person is permitted to use force, including deadly force, to prevent or resist an imminent threat of death or injury to himself or to another. Dep. Cardenas’s actions were reasonable based upon the threat presented by Seefeldt’s actions. I therefore find that the shooting of Seefeldt by Dep. Cardenas was lawful.
“I would like to emphasize that I do not merely find Dep. Cardenas’s actions to meet the minimum standards imposed by the law. In my view he acted bravely during this incident. He was motivated primarily by a desire to protect a fellow officer and the public in general. His actions and demeanor during this incident were in the finest traditions of Iowa law enforcement.”
Sheriff C.J. Ryan stated “I have reviewed Dep. Cardenas’s actions in regard to departmental policy on the use of force. I find that Dep. Cardenas’s actions were in compliance with all applicable policies. I share the view that Dep. Cardenas acted bravely during this incident. A motor vehicle can be just as dangerous as a gun or knife. Dep. Cardenas acted decisively to end the threat. I am proud of him.”
Criminal charges against Seefeldt are pending.