County attorney: FD officers were justified in shooting

March 16 incident left one man dead

Four Fort Dodge police officers were justified in using force during a March 16 incident that ended with the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Tyler C. Stansberry, Webster County Attorney Darren Driscoll has ruled.

“Officer Nick Ruggles, Sgt. Matthew Webb, Officer Andrew Lane and Officer Matthew English were each justified in the use of reasonable force, including deadly force, in that each reasonably believed that such force was necessary to defend himself or another from an actual or imminent use of unlawful force by Tyler C. Stansberry,” Driscoll wrote in a report released Wednesday.

Driscoll identified English as the officer who fired the fatal shots. He reported that English fired two rounds that hit Stansberry in the torso.

The county attorney’s report provides details of the quick, deadly confrontation between Stansberry and the four officers in a cramped area at the bottom of the basement stairs at 1525 Fourth Ave. S.. Driscoll wrote that Stansberry charged at the officers from a dark room with a knife in each hand.

He wrote that a taser and a beanbag round were also fired at Stansberry.

All four officers have been on critical incident leave since March 16. They will be returning to duty shortly.

The officers were dispatched to 1525 Fourth Ave. S. at 8:40 a.m. March 16 in response to reports that a man there was out of control and had injured a dog.

Officers spoke to family members outside the house. According to Driscoll, they learned that Stansberry was in an agitated state and had been punching a dog. They were told that he was pacing around in the basement.

They also learned from their dispatcher that there was a warrant for Stansberry’s arrest for violation of probation. He had been placed on probation for an earlier domestic abuse conviction.

The officers then entered the house. Ruggles, holding a shield and a taser, led the way down the stairs, calling “Tyler, Tyler, come talk to us, man.”

English was next in the line, followed by Lane who had a shotgun loaded with a beanbag round intended to be non-lethal. Webb brought up the rear.

The officers checked a bathroom near the bottom of the stairs and found no one inside.

According to Driscoll’s report, Ruggles then called out “Tyler, Tyler, come over here.”

The officers heard a scream and Stansberry came running toward them from a darkened room to their left, Driscoll wrote. He wrote that Stansberry had a knife in each hand.

Ruggles, English and Lane fired their weapons, Driscoll wrote. Webb, who was still on the staircase, didn’t fire his weapon.

Stansberry fell at the feet of the officers. Even though he was wounded, he still resisted as the officers took away the knives, Driscoll wrote.

After the knives were taken away, an ambulance was called.


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