116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids police officer was justified last February in shooting and killing a stabbing suspect captured on video charging at the officer with a knife, the Linn County Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.
In a report, Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden determined the police shooting of 39-year-old Arnell States was “justifiable homicide,” noting States had a knife, raised in his hand and was advancing toward Officer Kyzer Moore when Moore fired his gun.
“Officer Moore was entirely reasonable in his belief that deadly force was necessary to avoid injury or risk to his life or safety and that use of deadly force was necessary to resist a like force or threat,” Vander Sanden ruled.
States was suspected of stabbing his wife, who later died, and injuring another woman Feb. 20 at the Rodeway Inn, 4011 16th Ave. SW. According to the police department, officers were called to the motel about 1:46 a.m. on reports that a man was assaulting a woman in the hallway.
Moore was the first officer to arrive at the scene, according to the shooting investigation report, and as he entered the motel lobby noted blood on the front doors and blood leading to the front desk. At the desk, he found witness Kendra White. The report states White, the second stabbing victim, directed Moore toward a nearby hallway.
In the hallway, Moore found 34-year-old Katrina Brinson — States’ wife — sitting on the floor with her back against the wall. Brinson later died of multiple stab wounds.
“Although both women were wounded, they were conscious and Officer Moore determined his primary concern was to pursue the suspect who apparently injured the women and might pose a further threat to others in the motel,” the report stated.
Moore radioed for help and continued running after States, who had exited the motel near the west stairwell, according to the report.
“Officer Moore took the same exit and ran a short distance before encountering Arnell States who had apparently slipped and fallen on the snowy surface outside the motel,” the report said.
When States stood up, Moore could see he was holding a knife in his right hand. The weapon, according to the report, was a Smith and Wesson ExtremeOps folding knife with a blade roughly 3 inches long.
The report said Moore directed States several times to “get on the ground” and “throw away the knife.” But States refused, instead insisting Moore shoot him while advancing in the officer’s direction.
When States was within a few feet of him, the report states, Moore fired five shots, striking States twice — once in the right shoulder and once in the left lower chest. States died at a hospital on Feb. 23.
“Toxicology testing showed the presence of MDMA (ecstasy), MDMA metabolite (MDA), and fentanyl in his system,” according to the report. “A urine drug screen was presumptively positive for benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and fentanyl/metabolite.”
Further investigation revealed States had taken a cab to the motel that night and forced his way into the room that Brinson and White shared, where he attacked both women with a knife and chased them into the hallway. White managed to get to the motel lobby, while States continued his attack on Brinson, the report said.
The officer-involved shooting was investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. After reviewing the evidence and investigation report, Vander Sanden said he has found no basis for criminal charges in the shooting.
“Based upon the facts as described in the DCI investigative file, no criminal charges are warranted for the officer’s actions because, as the circumstances clearly demonstrated, the use of deadly force by Officer Moore was reasonable and necessary,” the county attorney found.
“I have determined the death of Arnell States to be a justifiable homicide under the applicable laws on self-defense under the Iowa Code,” Vander Sanden continued. “The Linn County Attorney's office now considers this officer involved shooting investigation to be closed.”
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