Day one of testimony wraps up in trial of man accused of killing Sgt. Jim Smith

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 4:55 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -The first witnesses have been called in the murder trial of Michael Lang. Lang is accused of shooting and killing State Trooper Sgt. Jim Smith last April.

Day one of testimony at the Hamilton County Courthouse included video from police of the moments before they say Lang barricaded himself inside his home. There as also body camera video of the moments troopers eventually entered his home.

The first video of the day came from a squad car. It showed an officer attempting to pull over Lang’s truck in Grundy Center, but he didn’t stop. Moments later, now outside of town, Lang is seen stopping. He’s then seen getting out of his truck and confronting the officer, who initially was pulling him over for speeding.

Body camera video shows Lang telling the officer to shoot him. The officer did not, but eventually tased Lang after warning him to back down. The officer says Lang then started fighting him and even choked him to the point where he worried for his life.

Lang then made his way back to his truck and to his house followed by a separate officer.

In total four law enforcement jurisdictions went to his home to assist in getting him out, but officers say he refused. They say even Lang’s father knocked and attempted to get his son to come out to no avail. From there the plan was for officers to enter the home through the garage eventually making their way to the basement and then up from there clearing one floor at a time.

Sgt. Smith was in the garage when Lang appeared at the doorway and shot him. One Deputy who was standing at the perimeter recalls hearing that gunshot.

”After the announcements that they were going to search the main level I heard a voice yell out that there was a gun and to get back and then I heard a gunshot go off,” said Deputy Samuel Hans Broome with the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office.

”By the time Sgt. Smith saw him he yells gun, gun, he’s backing out and then you hear bang. That first shot went through Sgt. Smith, he had his vest on but right here is where you have the strap. It went right underneath that, ripped through his collar bone, broke rips, ripped through his lungs and he fell down,” Assistant Attorney General Douglas Hammerand said during opening statements.

The state says Lang shot Smith a second time after he was down. Officers eventually rammed an armored vehicle into Lang’s home to try and bring him into custody. They say he shot twice at the windshield of that vehicle.

Lang’s Defense Attorney Aaron Hawbaker agrees his client fired his gun a total of four times but says each time was because he was responding to a threat. He says the first two shots came when Lang saw Sgt. Smith’s gun. The second two came when law enforcement officers were driving at his house.

”The only time that Mr. Lang fires again is when that armored vehicle started to rip the front off of his house and the reaction was to fire at that vehicle,” he said.

One deputy confirmed there was no warrant to enter the home. That’s something that could come up again in this case.

The trial will pick back up Wednesday morning with more state witnesses.

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