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Iowa Attorney General Clears Lee County Deputies in Shooting

Jun 23, 2017

The Iowa Attorney General's Office announced Thursday afternoon it had completed its investigation of an officer-involved shooting that happened in Lee County on June 12. The result:  the AG's office believes the actions taken by the two sheriff's deputies involved in the incident were legally justified.

After the result was announced, Sheriff Stacy Weber posted a 41 second portion of Foley’s body camera footage on the sheriff’s department’s Facebook page. He said he could not release all of the video due to the pending criminal investigation in the case.

THE FINDINGS

Special Assistant AG Scott Brown submitted the report to Lee County Attorney Clinton Boddicker. In it, Brown wrote Deputy Dakota Foley’s decision to shoot Joshua Welborn was reasonable under the circumstances.

[Foley] and [Deputy Evan] Bentley were faced with a potential combatant who was armed with a dangerous weapon that could have seriously injured or killed each officer. While armed, Welborn refused to comply with the repeated commands of the officer. Welborn’s actions placed him in a situation leaving the Deputy no choice but to fire his weapon to protect himself and his partner. It is important to note that Deputy Foley demonstrated great restraint in his actions towards Welborn. He attempted to resolve a very intense situation peacefully and fired only when necessary.

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office considers this matter closed.

DETAILS OF THE CASE

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said Deputies Foley and Bentley responded to an emergency call of a burglary in progress at a home near Montrose at 12:14 A.M. on Monday, June 12.

Brown used footage from Foley’s body camera to help prepare his report. Bentley’s body camera was not activated until after the shooting.

As Foley approached the residence, a banging noise can be heard coming from inside the residence. Foley repeatedly announced that the sheriff’s office was present. When Foley gets within a few feet of the porch area of the residence, a male, with blood on his hands, exists the residence through the door. It is clearly observable that the male has a large hammer in his right hand. The male is later identified as Joshua Welborn. Upon observing an armed person, Foley drew his service weapon and pointed it in front of him in the direction of Welborn’s position. Foley commands Welborn to show his hands.

Welborn advanced out of the door and down the steps of the porch toward the position of the deputies. Welborn briefly hesitated and then began to walk quickly toward the positon of both Foley and Bentley. Both Foley and Bentley retreated in an attempt to control the situation. As Foley is doing so, he repeatedly tell Welborn to stop his advance. At the time Welborn exited the residence and Foley began his retreat, Bentley was to Foley’s right and behind him. As Foley continues to retreat, he passed the position of Bentley.

As Foley passes Bentley’s position, Bentley is observed on the video retreating from the advancing position of Welborn. Welborn fails to stop despite the commands to do so. When Welborn is within an arms-length of Bentley, he raises the hammer. Foley fires one round from his service weapon, striking Welborn in the left chest. Welborn immediately is neutralized and no other shorts are fired. Prior to shooting Welborn, Foley can be heard on the video telling Welborn to stop a total of six times. The commands had no effect on Welborn.

Brown goes on to state that both deputies began first aid until Welborn was transported to the hospital, where he received treatment for his injury. Welborn survived the shooting.

In conjunction with the AG’s report, Sheriff Weber said in a statement that Welborn was transported to the Lee County Jail on charges of First Degree Burglary, Second Degree Criminal Mischief, and Assault on a Peace Officer.