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Crime & PoliceNews

Iowa State Patrol tactical team leader killed in Grundy Center stand-off

Grundy Center, IA – A 27-year veteran of the Iowa State Patrol was shot to death Friday night during an armed stand-off with a man who authorities say had assaulted a policeman earlier that evening. Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Jim Smith was part of a team that entered the Grundy Center home of Michael Lang at about 9 p.m. Friday. Mitch Mortvedt, Assistant Director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, delivered a briefing on the case Saturday afternoon.

Just before midnight, authorities used an armored vehicle to batter into Lang’s house.

Mortvdt says Lang was taken to University of Iowa Hospitals, where he’s listed in critical condition after surgery for several gunshot wounds. Lang has been charged with one count of first degree murder and being held on a one MILLION dollar bond. The chain of events began shortly before 7:30 Friday night when a Grundy Center policeman attempted to make a traffic stop, but Mortvedt says Lang sped away, then stopped in an area southeast of Grundy Center and assaulted the officer.

Mortvedt says a Hardin County deputy who arrived at that scene tried to arrest Lang, but Lang got back in his vehicle and sped back into Grundy Center. The deputy found the vehicle parked outside Lang’s house, saw Lang walking inside and called for back-up. Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens (STEE-ven BAINS, rhymes with “rains”) says Smith’s death is a horrific loss to his family and his co-workers.

Smith had been stationed to the patrol’s district office in Oelwein since 1996 and was the leader of one of the patrol’s Tactical Teams. Smith is the second state trooper in the history of the State Patrol to be shot and killed in the line of duty. The first was Trooper Oran Pape, who was killed in 1936 as he pursued a suspect.

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