116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A Coralville police officer, one of those responding to a call about a 3-year-year-old being shot Sunday, later died from an acute medical emergency, according to a Facebook post from the Coralville Police Department.
“We are reeling from both of these incidents,” Coralville Mayor Meghann Foster said in an interview Tuesday. “The loss of this young child in our community, and the loss of this officer who served for over two decades and was known for his kindness.”
Damari Sanders, a 3-year-old boy, was critically injured Sunday in Coralville after suffering a gunshot wound. The child died later that evening at the hospital.
Coralville police and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation are investigating the shooting and have provided no public explanation of the circumstanced leading up to it.
Johnson County Supervisor Royceann Porter, a friend of the boy’s family, said his family is distraught. Porter was working on a GoFundMe page online to help the family with funeral expenses and other financial struggles.
“While funeral arrangements are underway, we as a community must step up to show full support to this mom in her time of need. The day she lost her son — a piece of her heart was lost too!,” Porter wrote on the page.
Sgt. John Williams, who had been with the Coralville Police Department for over 28 years, died from a medical emergency “in the aftermath” of responding to the shooting, according to the Facebook post. But his death was not directly related to Damari’s death, according to Coralville City Administrator Kelly Hayworth.
“His knowledge, experience and leadership will be near-impossible to replace. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, co-workers, and all those he helped throughout his career,” the post reads.
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