More details to emerge Friday in North Liberty officer-involved shooting

Officers involved in the incident have been on paid administrative leave

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Nearly six weeks after a man died and three officers were injured in a shooting in North Liberty, Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness has called a press conference to release more information about the fatal encounter.

Lyness this afternoon announced that her office will release more details about the March 10 shooting at 1:30 p.m. Friday. She will be joined by Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek and Bill Kietzman, special agent in charge for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

The three North Liberty police officers involved in the shooting have been on paid administrative leave since the incident. That has the local department – which lists 17 officers on its website, including acting chief Diane Venenga, two sergeants and an investigator – a bit short-staffed.

Venenga, a former lieutenant with the department, was promoted in February after former chief Jim Warkentin stepped down.  The city has not yet filled the chief position, meaning the department has been down four people since the March 10 shooting.

Officers responded to a mobile home at 238 Holiday Lodge Road about 6 p.m. that day in response to a 911 call domestic disturbance call, according to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. Shortly after arriving, officers exchanged gunfire with Taleb Salameh, 28, who died at the scene, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The three officers involved in the exchange – who have not yet been identified – were struck bullets and taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. They were treated and released for non-life threatening injuries, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Details of who fired a weapon and how the incident escalated have not yet been made public. A cause and manner of Salameh’s death has not been released.

Kietzman, whose agency led the investigation, told the Gazette that they handed over their findings to the county attorney’s office in late March. He said every officer-involved shooting is different and can take varying degrees of time to investigate and resolve.

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