ARTICLE

North Liberty man killed in gunfire exchange with officers

Grad student Salameh died at the scene; three officers injured

Officers on the scene after a shooting at the Holiday Lodge Mobile Home Park in North Liberty turned into a standoff on the evening of March 10, 2013. (Mark Carlson/The Gazette-KCRG9)
Officers on the scene after a shooting at the Holiday Lodge Mobile Home Park in North Liberty turned into a standoff on the evening of March 10, 2013. (Mark Carlson/The Gazette-KCRG9)

UPDATE: A 28-year-old North Liberty man was shot and killed Sunday night in a gunfire exchange with police at his home in the Holiday Mobile Home Court.

North Liberty police responded to a 911 call made at 5:51 p.m. Sunday regarding a domestic disturbance at 238 Holiday Lodge Road, according to a news release from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. North Liberty officers arrived on scene within three minutes and made contact with a female victim, according to the news release.

They also contacted Taleb Hussein Yousef Salameh, who exchanged gunshots with the officers, Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek reported. Salameh died at the scene, according to Pulkrabek, and three officers were hit by gunfire in the exchange, according to Pulkrabek.

They were taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where they were treated and released. The female victim was not injured in the incident, and no one else was in the mobile home at the time, Pulkrabek reported.

The names of the officers involved have not been made public pending an internal investigation of the shooting. The officers are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, according to the news release.

The UIHC Decedent Care Center will conduct an autopsy of Salameh, and the investigation is ongoing.

Numerous agencies have been involved in the investigation including the North Liberty, Iowa City, Coralville and University of Iowa police departments, the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, the Johnson County Attorney's Office, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner.

Dozens of police cars lined the streets of the mobile home park after the shooting, and investigators stayed on scene through the night.

Witnesses who live near the trailer say they heard gunshots Sunday evening and were concerned for their safety.

According to University of Iowa online records, a man by the same name -- Taleb H Y Salameh -- is currently a graduate research assistant in mechanical engineering. He appears to have graduated from the UI in 2009.

Doctorate student Mohsen Ghamari, a classmate who shared an office with Salameh, confirmed Salameh's identity when reached by The Associated Press and expressed shock to learn about his death.

Ghamari said that Salameh was close to finishing his master's degree after roughly four years in the program, and was performing experiments on combustion. He said Salameh was supposed to defend his thesis and graduate as early as this spring and then take a good-paying job in the private sector.

"He was very busy these days. I see some homework on his desk. He was supposed to grade them," he said. "He was very good at doing his job as a teaching assistant. He was always on time."

Ghamari said that Salemeh had been working as a teaching assistant to support his family, which included a girlfriend and a 1-year-old daughter. He said he saw the three at a party last summer, and they appeared to be a happy family.

Salameh did have some problems, Ghamari said, including serving a short jail term for what he called "a bar fight" and quitting school for a semester after getting depression. But he said those problems did not seem major for Salameh, who he described as very smart and friendly.

"As far as I know, he was a fine guy," he said. "I'm shocked."

In 2007, Salameh apparently was awarded a $2,000 scholarship for mechanical engineering, according to UI online records.

An online profile for the Global Illumination Council lists a Taleb Salameh of Iowa City as a member of the group.

In an information section about Salameh on that page, he says he was born in Iowa City and has lived here his entire life.

"I am currently finishing my master's in mechanical engineering. I have a beautiful seven month old daughter. I'll leave it at that for now," according to the profile.

Salameh on the website says he's interested in thermal fluids and combustion, along with gardening quantum mechanics and spirituality and "UFOlogy."

Salameh's criminal history in Iowa includes numerous convictions for driving and alcohol offenses, theft and trespassing. He apparently was arrested in 2009 on suspicion of public intoxication and assault causing injury.

He also was arrested as a juvenile in Johnson County on suspicion of alcohol offenses. He has not been convicted of a felony in Iowa.

In February, a Johnson County judge issued a temporary protective order against Salameh. But the petition was dismissed when the protected party did not appear in court.

The woman involved in that case is listed in public records as living at 223 Holiday Lodge Road.

Ryan Foley of The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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