Six officers justified in use of deadly force against Davenport man

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Six police officers involved in the fatal October shooting of a Davenport man were justified in their use of deadly force, Scott County Attorney Mike Walton said Friday.

The exchange of gunfire between the officers and Kenneth Jamel Carrol took place after a vehicle pursuit that ended on East Kimberly Road. The Hyundai Santa Fe that Carrol was driving went into a ditch just west of Elmore Avenue, police said.

Carrol failed to obey the commands of officers, who returned fire after first being fired upon, Walton said.

At least 11 shell casings were found to belong to the 9 mm handgun Carrol was carrying, he said, and the six officers fired a total of 53 rounds — 13 of which struck Carrol.

“The officers' actions were reasonable,” Walton said. “The law states that it is reasonable for a person to use deadly force, certainly in a case when deadly force is being used against them. That certainly was the case here.

“Mr. Carrol fired at officers numerous times, and they believed him to continue to be armed and dangerous. He refused commands and requests to take the ground, and so each of those officers acting individually believed, reasonably believed, that their life was in danger and the life of those other officers. In fact, those officers believed with good reason that those other officers had been shot.”

During a news conference Friday, Walton showed a video of the pursuit that led to Carrol abandoning the Santa Fe. Officers can be heard telling Carrol and the three women in the car with him to “get on the ground.”

“Carrol is told to get on the ground at least 15 times, but never does so,” Walton said. Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kenneth Voorhees had his Taser out and warned Carrol, “Get on the ground, or you’re going to be Tased.”

Voorhees and Trooper Dwight Swartz chased after Carrol around a home in the area, Walton said. As Voorhees started to gain on him, Carrol turned and shot toward Voorhees. The officer dropped to the ground, dropping the Taser and grabbing his firearm.

Trooper Swartz, who was behind Voorhees, saw Carrol shoot at Voorhees, saw the muzzle flash from Carrol’s gun and heard the bullets as they whizzed by him, the prosecutor said.

Voorhees and Swartz returned fire.

Davenport Police Officers Brandon Askew, Mason Pauley and Benjamin Betsworth, and Bettendorf Sgt. Zachary Thomas, hearing the shots, entered the backyard. They thought the Iowa State Patrol troopers had been shot and possibly injured or killed, Walton said, and they too fired at Carrol.

Carrol then ran south and crossed Pheasant Creek. Officers continued to yell at Carrol to get to the ground, but he did not comply. Carrol, now on the other side of the creek, began to move east along the tree line. As he moved east, he got closer to officers on the southeast side of the creek.

As Carrol moved east, he could be seen in clearings.

As officers believed Carrol remained armed, they continued firing until he dropped to the ground. When officers were able to determine that Carrol no longer was a threat, they and medics approached Carrol and determined he was deceased.

Carrol's gun was located on the south side of the creek, about 90 feet from his body, Walton said. Carrol had fired all of his available rounds, emptying the gun.

Voorhees’ Taser was located on the ground on the north side of the creek, where the shooting began.

Walton said the incident with Carrol began on Oct. 16 at about 2:45 a.m., when police saw an orange Hyundai Santa Fe on Grand Avenue at 53rd Street. During that incident, the vehicle fled from police in the area of 53rd and Brady streets, traveling north on U.S. 61 at speeds well over 100 mph with its lights off, police said.

It was last seen north of Eldridge.

At 2:47 a.m. on Oct. 30 — the day of the shooting — officers again spotted the Santa Fe in the same area. A marked squad car attempted to follow it on 53rd Street. The Santa Fe abruptly turned into the Kwik Star at Spring and 53rd streets, police said.

As he approached the gas pumps, Carrol reportedly saw the squad car, drove by the gas pumps and immediately exited the property.

Officers following the vehicle saw it cross the center line several times. They tried to stop the Santa Fe as it turned north onto Brady Street, police said. The vehicle pulled to the side, as if stopping, then drove off at a high rate of speed.

Toxicology reports from Carrol's autopsy showed he was over the legal limit for alcohol while driving, and tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine.

The Iowa State Patrol became the primary agency in the pursuit of the Santa Fe, during which speeds exceeded 100 mph. Carrol drove recklessly, running through stop lights at intersections and disobeying stop signs, police and Walton said.

Three women were in the vehicle with Carrol. After the vehicle stopped, Carrol and one of the women ran in the same direction. Another stayed in the car while the last woman got out and fell to the pavement, where she was taken into custody.

No charges are being filed against any of the women.

Carrol had been discharged from probation on Oct. 2 for being a felon in possession of a firearm. At the time he was arrested on the gun charge, he was on probation for convictions of theft, forgery and using a juvenile for an indictable offense.

The gun Carrol used to fire upon police was purchased in Davenport, Walton said, adding that police still are investigating how the weapon came to be in Carrol’s possession.

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