Inmate in Iowa hospital kills self, shoots deputy

The inmate shot the deputy after a struggle and then fatally shot himself; the deputy was treated and released for a gunshot wound to his abdomen

By Christinia Crippes
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

WEST UNION, Iowa — A dramatic scene inside a West Union hospital Saturday resulted in two gunshots being fired -- both by the man who died at the scene.

The Fayette County Sheriff's Office said a jail inmate being treated at the hospital died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The inmate, who grabbed the service revolver from a deputy standing guard, first shot the deputy and then turned the gun on himself. The deputy survived.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation was on the scene of the shooting Saturday afternoon.

No names have been released.

The shootings took place at about 8:30 a.m. in Palmer Lutheran Health Center, 112 Jefferson St. Hospital administrator Steve Starks said the hospital was secured a short time later, and no staff members were harmed or in danger.

Here is what deputies said took place: At about 8:30 a.m., a Fayette County deputy was at Palmer Lutheran Hospital with the Fayette County Jail inmate who was being treated for medical issues.

During treatment the deputy released one of the inmate's hands from handcuffs. The inmate attacked the deputy, and a struggle took place. The inmate took the deputy's firearm and held the deputy at gunpoint, wanting to be further released to attempt an escape.

The deputy deployed a nonlethal device against the inmate, deputies said. The inmate then shot the deputy. The inmate then shot himself.

The deputy was treated and released for a gunshot wound to his abdomen. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest and was spared serious injured.

The inmate was pronounced dead at the scene.

The sheriff's office has turned the investigation over to the DCI. Assisting at the scene was the West Union Police Department and the county medical examiner.

Palmer Health Center had limited entrance to some areas Saturday but still had full services available.

Officials said the names of the deputy and the inmate will be released at a later date after a full investigation.

Mayor Kent Halverson expressed shock at the chain of events.

"That's something we absolutely do not see in our community. I don't know what happened there," Halverson said. "It's a bad deal."


©2014 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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