Public Safety

Former Cedar Rapids city worker to be sentenced for City Services Center incident

CEDAR RAPIDS — The former City of Cedar Rapids worker who brought a shotgun to the City Services Center last year will be sentenced next month.

According to court records, Russell J. Howard, 42, of Marion, has pleaded guilty to unauthorized possession of offensive weapons, a Class D felony; and carrying weapons, an aggravated misdemeanor. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 13.

Authorities said Howard, a former nuisance abatement officer who worked in the building permit inspection area of the City Services Center, drove to work on Aug. 23, 2017 and entered the building armed with a shotgun at 10:38 a.m. Employees evacuated after someone activated a “panic button” to alert police.

Cedar Rapids police responded and formed a perimeter around the building.

Police said Howard made threats to harm himself before he retreated to a workplace area within the building. Police entered the building, made contact with Howard and took him into custody at 11:35 a.m. Howard was hospitalized after the incident and arrested upon his discharge on Sept. 1. He was fired by the city the day he was released from the hospital.

Carrying weapons is an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison. Unauthorized possession of an offensive weapon is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

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