Public Safety

Name of Atalissa shooting suspect released

An Iowa State Patrol squad car. (Gazette file photo)
An Iowa State Patrol squad car. (Gazette file photo)

ATALISSA — A man faces attempted murder and assault on police charges after shooting at motorists and police Thursday.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, at 2:24 p.m. on Thursday, Iowa State Patrol troopers and other officers were called to the rest area near Atalissa on Interstate 80 for a report of shots fired. Authorities said the suspect — later identified as 60-year-old Charles Johnston — proceeded to drive west and got off at the 265 exit.

Johnston is accused of firing at motorists at the BP gas station. Authorities said troopers caught up to Johnston on County Road X46 and gunfire was exchanged. After a standoff, Johnston was taken into custody. Neither he nor any officers were injured during incident.

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Johnston was taken into custody and is being charged in Cedar County with attempted murder, a Class B felony; and assault on a peace officer with a dangerous weapon, a Class D felony.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the incident. Special Agent Ryan Herman said authorities believe Johnston is from Illinois.

A weapon was recovered after the incident, but Herman said he couldn’t identify the gun used or how many shots were fired. Herman also could not say whether Johnston was tested for drug or alcohol use following the incident.

If convicted of both offenses, Johnston could spend up to 30 years in prison.

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