Johnson County Metro

Iowa City shooter now faces federal charge

Bell accused of being prohibited person in possession of firearm

Curtis Bell
Curtis Bell

IOWA CITY — An Iowa City man arrested in connection with a shooting last month has been indicted on a federal firearms charge.

According to federal court documents, on Tuesday, 35-year-old Curtis R. Bell was indicted on one count of prohibited person in possession of a firearm. Bell had previously been arrested at the state level on charges of possession of a firearm as a felon and reckless use of a firearm causing property damage.

Iowa City police were called to the area of Hollywood Boulevard and Taylor Drive around 9 p.m. Feb. 25 for a report of shots fired. Responding officers found a vehicle in the 1100 block of Hollywood Boulevard that had been hit by multiple bullets, according to the federal complaint.

Officers spoke with one witness who said their baby monitor recorded six shots fired. Another witness identified the shooter as “Kurt” and directed officers to the apartment where Bell resides. An anonymous caller told police they had seen Bell the morning of the shooting “with a Nike bag full of guns,” the complaint states.

Police received three subsequent tips about the shooting from the Iowa City Area CrimeStoppers tip line. Two tips indicated they saw Bell with a gun and in a dispute with another man and the third tipster said they knew Bell was someone who possesses firearms.

The complaint states that on Feb. 28, officers — along with Iowa City police K-9 Rakker and University of Iowa police K-9 Falo — went to Bell’s apartment. There, Falo — an explosives detection dog — alerted on Bell’s apartment.

That same day, police said Bell came to the police station and asked to speak to an officer about the Feb. 25 shooting. Bell told police he was involved in a “dispute” with another man. Bell told police the man reached into his waistband during the dispute. Thinking he was going for a gun, Bell pulled a Titan Tiger .38 caliber revolver and shot six times at the other man, police said.

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Bell later led police to an apartment in Iowa City, where officers recovered the revolver and eight rounds of ammunition in a sock and 18 rounds of ammunition in another sock.

The federal charge carries a potential 10 year sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.

Bell was convicted in Cook County, Ill. of felony possession of a controlled substance in 1999. He was convicted of domestic abuse resulting in injury in Johnson County in 2002, police said. Both offenses bar him from possessing a firearm or ammunition.

Iowa City Police Lt. Zach Diersen said Tuesday weapons recovered from Bell had been stolen in local burglaries.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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