DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Attorney General’s office ruled law enforcement’s use of deadly force was justified in a stand-off with Michael Lang of Grundy Center on Friday, April 9.
Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Jim Smith, a 27-year veteran, was shot and killed while attempting to arrest Lang. After Smith was shot, a Hardin County Sheriff’s Deputy, who had been part of the initial entry team, fired shots at Lang but missed hitting the suspect.
An Iowa State Patrol Tactical Team attempted to enter the residence with a wheeled armored personnel carrier. During the entry, Lang shot multiple rounds at the personnel carrier. Iowa State Patrol Troopers returned fire at Lang, wounding him three times, and took him into custody.
He was taken by EMS to Grundy County Memorial Hospital and later transferred to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. Lang was released last week and was charged and booked into the Black Hawk County Jail on a $3 million bond.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety released the names of the law enforcement officers who discharged their weapons. They are Hardin County Sheriff’s Deputy Mitch Kappel, a 13-year veteran of the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office; Trooper Josh Guhl, a 13-year veteran of the Iowa State Patrol; Trooper Matt Costello, a 17-year veteran of the Iowa State Patrol, and Trooper Spencer Baltes, a 4-year veteran of the Iowa State Patrol. All officers were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the officer-involved shooting investigation.
The Attorney General’s office reviewed the shooting at the request of the Grundy County Attorney’s office, concluding that the shooting was justified and reasonable.
“The actions of the officers who encountered Lang on April 9, 2021, were entirely legally justified. Lang used and continue to threaten deadly force during his entire interactions with law enforcement. Lang provided no other option to the officers who encountered him other than to utilize potentially deadly force against him. Lang was provided every opportunity to end the confrontation peacefully and chose not to do so. The decision to fire at Lang by each officer was reasonable and legally justified under the circumstances,” Special Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown, Division Director – Area Prosecutions Division with the Iowa Attorney General’s office, wrote in a letter sent to the Grundy County Attorney’s office.
Read the letter below:Grundy County OIS Re Lang - ISP Trooper Smith