Man Shot, Killed by Deputy Was Former Johnson Co. Supervisor Candidate

By Jeff Raasch and Mark Carlson, Reporters

Mike Dooely, Cedar Rapids, stands on the Confederate side of the skirmish, Saturday October 15, 2010 at Ushers Ferry Historic Village in Cedar Rapids. The skirmish was part of a father son civil war boot camp weekend . (Becky Malewitz/ SourceMedia Group News)


By Katie Stinson

CANTRIL, Iowa — The man shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy in southeast Iowa was a former candidate for Johnson County supervisor.

Robert "Michael" Dooley, 59, of Brighton, died Tuesday after authorities said he pointed a rifle at Van Buren sheriff's deputies as he walked along Highway 2 east of Cantril, just a few miles from the Iowa-Missouri border. Deputy Jon Tharp fired one shot at Dooley.

Dooley briefly was an official write-in candidate for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors in 2010. An independent, Dooley dropped out of the race less than a week after having his nomination petition accepted.

According to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, at least three 911 calls were placed around 11 a.m. about a man wearing a military uniform and armed with a rifle who was walking west on Highway 2 near Cantril. The man was reportedly making obscene hand gestures at passing motorists, authorities said.

Tharp and Deputy Brad Hudson responded, and located the man later identified as Dooley, who had a rifle. Authorities said Dooley was ordered to drop the rifle multiple times, but instead turned toward the deputies and raised the rifle toward them. Tharp responded with a single gunshot, authorities said.

An autopsy conducted Wednesday determined Dooley died as a result of a single gunshot wound, officials said.

Dooley participated in civil war reenactment in 2010 as a Confederate soldier, and also was photographed at a parade and political debate that year dressed as a soldier on his horse, according to Gazette archives.

DCI Special Agent Jeff Uhlmeyer said Dooley was dressed in his civil war-era uniform at the time of the incident. He declined to say if the rifle was loaded, but said more information would be released soon. Uhlmeyer also declined to say why Dooley was in that area, about 50 miles from his residence.

The DCI continues to review the incident, and its findings will be forwarded to the Van Buren County Attorney's Office to determine if the deputy's actions were warranted. Tharp has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation, in accordance with policy at the sheriff's office.

"I expect this investigation and matter will be resolved early next week," Uhlmeyer said.

Dooley had been arrested twice in the days leading up to his death. He was arrested for public intoxication in Johnson County on October 9 and eluding in Washington County on October 12 according to online documents.

Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek also confirmed that an elementary school in Solon was twice put on hightened security this month as a result of investigations involving Dooley.
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