Iowa City officers cleared in May 9 shooting

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) -- Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness says Iowa City police officers "acted with reasonable force" when they shot Michael Cintron-Caceres in the early morning hours of May 9.

A surveillance image shows Iowa City Police officers pointing their guns at a burglary suspect who is ramming vehicles in an attempt to escape on May 9, 2019.

Iowa City police officers Jesse Drahos, Michael Harkrider, Travis Neeld, Tyler Lakose, Chad Fulton and Jessica Lakose were called to Pizza Hut at 1926 Keokuk Street at 2:07 a.m. on May 9 for a burglar alarm.

While investigating that alarm, a burglar alarm began sounding at Second Act, a business about a block away from Pizza Hut. Officers Harkrider, Tyler Lakose, Fulton and Jessica Lakose responded.

While investigating the second alarm, Officer Harkrider found a man in a red, long-sleeved shirt behind the building heading east toward Keokuk Street.

Officer Kurt Fuchs testified he located the man at an old restaurant across the street from Pizza Hut. Fuchs stopped the man who identified himself as Javier Delgado. The report says officers Jessica Lakose, Aaron Mitchell and Sgt. Andrew McKnight joined Fuchs.

While trying to get more information, officers stated the suspect ran and was seen jumping the fence into the storage area for Big 10 Rentals at 1820 Boyrum Street.

Detectives Alex Stricker and Matt Ties joined in the search. Neeld also retrieved his K9 partner, Luke.

After gaining entrance to the area, Neeld deployed Luke after announcing he was releasing him.

At about 2:45 p.m. officers located the suspect inside a truck. According to Officer Neeld, he ordered the suspect, identified as Cintron-Caceres, to show his hands.

Neeld says instead of showing his hands, Cintron-Caceres climbed into the front seat of the truck and started it. Neeld says he ordered him to stop the truck and tried to get in through the passenger side, but the doors were locked.

Neeld says it was at that time Cintron-Caceres began driving the truck back and forth, smashing into other vehicles and moving them.

Neeld testified that at some point he noticed the driver's side window had broken, so he fired his taser into the vehicle, but was not able to hit Cintron-Caceres.

Neeld said he and Luke were trapped in the area and shouted that he would have to shoot the driver.

Stricker testified that he could see Neeld and Luke had no way to escape and told Neeld "do what you have to do".

At that point, Neeld fired two shots, but Cintron-Caceres continued to ram the truck.

Neeld then fired eight more shots, but the truck continued to move.

Stricker, fearing Neeld had been hit by the truck, says he fired two shots. He says the truck then stopped.

Officers then approached the vehicle and told Cintron-Caceres to put his hands up. They said he responded that he couldn't because his hand was broken.

Officers then pulled him out of the truck through the driver's side window and handcuffed him.

At that point, officers noticed Cintron-Caceres had been shot in his left and right shoulders and called for an ambulance.

In his interview, Cintron-Caceres said he had gone to Hy-Vee to buy a cigar, but they would not sell it to him. He says he then went to a gas station on Keokuk Street.

He says he was then stopped by officers and was very nervous because he was "high on crack cocaine".

He then said he gave his name to officers, but decided to run and did not know why. He said he ran into a "factory" and hid in a car for about an hour to an hour-and-a-half.

He then said officers shot at him more than 10 times and he was hit two or three times. He also stated he did not know why they did not just shoot him with the "electric gun".

The report says Cintron-Caceres then stated officers may have shot him "because of how he was driving the car".

After reviewing written reports, body-worn camera footage, squad car audio and video, surveillance video from Big 10 Rentals, reports from DCI agents and interviews with Neeld, Strick, and Cintron-Caceres, Lyness concluded that Officer Neeld and Detective Strick had reason to believe they were in danger and used the least force necessary to stop the threat.

According to court documents, while not charged for either of the burglaries on May 9, Cintron-Caceres is charged in the April 30 armed robbery of Romantix and the May 7 armed robbery of Suburban Amoco.

He also accused of assaulting officers during an incident on Hollywood Boulevard on May 4.