Use of Force Found to Be Justified in March 16th Officer Involved Shooting in Fort Dodge

A four page report has been released by the Webster County Attorney that finds the actions that took place on March 16th that led to an officer involved shooting leaving one man dead at a home in Fort Dodge was justified.

According to a media release from the Fort Dodge Police Department, Webster County Attorney Darren Driscoll released

a report regarding the use of deadly force on 24 year old Tyler Stansberry in the officer involved shooting involving four Fort Dodge Police Officers at 1525 4th Ave. South.

Driscoll found the use of force, to include deadly force used by the Fort Dodge Police
Officers to be justified.

The following is from Webster County Attorney Darren Driscoll’s report:

“On March 16, 2024, at approximately 8:40am, the Fort Dodge Police Department responded to a call for service
at 1525 4th Avenue South in Fort Dodge. The call indicated that an individual inside the residence,
later identified as Tyler C. Stansberry, age 24, was exhibiting out of control behavior, including
injuring a dog inside the residence. Officers also discovered that Mr. Stansberry had an active
arrest warrant for a violation of probation relating to a conviction for domestic violence”.
“Once officers arrived on scene, they spoke with family members of Mr. Stansberry,
outside of the house so that the family members would be kept safe from Mr. Stansberry. The
family members advised officers of further details about the abuse of animals that day, and other
erratic and violent behaviors being exhibited by Mr. Stansberry, which led the family to contact
law enforcement. A family member also advised that Mr. Stansberry had armed himself with a
knife just before law enforcement was contacted, was pacing around the basement with a knife in an agitated state, had been punching a dog and had yelled threateningly at one of his family
members.”
“Officers collected additional information about Mr. Stansberry’s actions that day, his
recent behaviors and mental health struggles, as well as learning about a prior similar incident a
few years earlier where Mr. Stansberry had barricaded himself during a call for service.”
“The officers then put together a plan for how to approach Mr. Stansbury in the basement.
Four officers then made their way through the main level of the house to the basement door and
proceeded down the stairs. While proceeding down to the bottom of the stairs, Officer Ruggles
called out ‘Tyler…Tyler. Come talk to us man.” Mr. Stansberry did not respond.”
“The four Officers then continued down the stairs to the basement, led by Officer Ruggles
armed with a Taser and a shield, followed by Officer English armed with his service pistol loaded
with live ammunition in his right hand, Officer Lane armed with a less-lethal beanbag round
loaded in a shotgun, followed by Sergeant Webb.”
“The body cameras show the officers methodically entering the basement and checking
for Mr. Stansberry, and that three of the officers reached the bottom of the stairs. Upon doing so,
Lane passes Ruggles and English and opens a door to a bathroom. He then checks and clears the
bathroom located to the Officer’s right at the base of the stairs.”
“Immediately after the bathroom is cleared, Ruggles announces ‘Tyler, Tyler, come over
here…’ as the officers still do not know where Mr. Stansberry is located. Upon this request by
Ruggles, Mr. Stansberry immediately screams and charges from a darkened adjacent room to the
left of the officers, who are still positioned in front of the bathroom at the base of the stairs. The
officers turn to their left, to the direction of the screams and observe Mr. Stansberry charging
them at a high rate of speed with a knife in each hand. Within approximately one second of when
Mr. Stansberry begins to charge and scream, he has almost reached the officers. Ruggles then
deploys his taser, Lane fires his less-lethal bean bag round, and English fires two live rounds from
his service pistol, striking Stansberry twice in the torso. Webb is still on the stairs, with a partially
obstructed view, due to the tight quarters at the bottom of the stairs and does not fire his weapon. Mr. Stansberry falls to the ground and lands at the feet of the officers, still located in the tightly
enclosed area at the base of the stairs in front of the bathroom.”
“After going to the ground, Mr. Stansberry was still resisting the officers’ attempts to
disarm him. He was lying on his chest, while still holding onto the knives in each of his hands and
not letting them go. Officers eventually subdued him and were able to remove the knives from his
hands. Once Mr. Stansberry was disarmed and secured, medical personnel were immediately
called to aid Mr. Stansberry and a call was made to dispatch of shots fired. Later, Mr. Stansberry
succumbed to his injuries from the two live rounds that struck his body, and he was pronounced
dead.”
“Analysis by the DCI Criminalistics laboratory of the firearm and ammunition used by
Officer English, concluded that the fatal rounds were consistent with the ammunition used and
firearm fired by Officer English.”
“Given the established facts of this case, the Webster County Attorney’s Office has
concluded that Officer Nick Ruggles, Sergeant Matthew Webb, Officer Andrew Lane, and Officer
Matthew English each used “reasonable force” in responding to the use of deadly force by Tyler
C. Stansberry on March 16, 2024. Each used a level of force that a reasonable person in like
circumstances would have judged necessary to prevent an injury or loss. Further, Officer English’s
use of deadly force was reasonable, in that it was reasonable for him to believe that such use of
force was necessary to avoid injury or risk to his life or safety or the life or safety of another.
Further, the use of deadly force by Officer English was reasonable in that it was reasonable for
him to believe that such force was necessary to resist a like force or threat, in accordance with
Iowa Code §704.1.”
“Officer Nick Ruggles, Sergeant Matthew Webb, Officer Andrew Lane and Officer
Matthew English were each justified in the use of reasonable force, including deadly force, in that
each reasonably believed that such force was necessary to defend himself or another from an
actual or imminent use of unlawful force by Tyler C. Stansberry, in accordance with Iowa Code
§704.3.”

The Fort Dodge Police Department would like to offer our appreciation for all that were
involved in this investigation. All that participated in this investigation worked tirelessly to arrive
at their decisions. Fort Dodge Police Officers are dispatched to various calls for service each day,
that require them to use their training and judgement to serve and protect the Fort Dodge
Community. This is a responsibility that we do not take lightly.
With the release of the Webster County Attorney’s report, the Fort Dodge Police
Departments focus is now on returning the involved Officers to full‐duty status. We will make
sure that the Officers mental and physical needs are met while navigating the days ahead.
Unfortunate events such as this impact all involved, to include their families, the department,
and the Fort Dodge Community. We are eager to get these Officers back to work, serving the
Fort Dodge Community.

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