IOWA FALLS, Iowa —The Iowa Attorney General’s Office has concluded that the use of deadly force by all five officers in a standoff in Iowa Falls was justified and reasonable.
Leighton Fitz, 25, was killed during the standoff after officers said he exited his home wearing a bulletproof vest, carrying multiple weapons and refusing to comply with officers instructions.
Authorities said Fitz was suicidal and had made threats on Facebook.
The incident started when his girlfriend called authorities to say he was armed and suicidal. Officers surrounded the home at 413 College Avenue in Iowa Falls.
Fitz posted on Facebook that “any officer would meet a heavily armed and armored man.” Fitz did not respond to phone calls from authorities, they said.
When Fitz exited the home during the standoff, officers said they could see he was wearing body armor and was armed. Authorities said he had a knife, a handgun in his front pocket and another handgun concealed in his back.
A photo shown above is from the Iowa Falls Times Citizen newspaper. It shows Fitz wearing the vest and a weapon sticking out of his coat.
“It has been suggested by some family members of Fitz that he came out of the house with his hands raised willing to submit to law enforcement. There is no evidence to support any such claim,” reads the investigation report.
Authorities said when Fitz reached into his front pocket and pulled out the handgun officers fired. Iowa State Trooper Jeremy Schaffer, Iowa State Trooper Kyle Haack, an Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement Agent and Iowa Falls Police Officers Joe Metz and Bryce Knudsen fired multiple rounds, hitting and killing Fitz.
Other handguns and ammunition were found inside the home as well as a loaded rifle, a gas mask and a high-powered rifle with a scope.
Authorities said the investigation revealed Fitz had been in a domestic assault with this girlfriend prior to the standoff.
The Iowa Falls Police Department and Hardin County authorities turned the investigation over to the State Attorney General’s Office for review.