County Attorney: Davenport officer justified in fatally shooting man who opened fire on police June 1

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 7:15 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - A Davenport officer’s use of deadly force was reasonable when he shot and killed a man who opened fire on an unmarked police truck, striking an officer, during a night of unrest in June, Scott County Attorney Mike Walton said Thursday.

“The evidence shows the use of deadly force by Lt. (Greg) Behning was justified and reasonable under the circumstances,” Walton said in a media release. “The actions by Marquis Tousant put the lives and physical safety of the officers in immediate danger. It was reasonable for Behning to return fire to limit further injury or death to others and himself.”

According to Walton’s release:

At 2:55 a.m. June 1, Behning, Sgt. Scott Lansing and Det. Pat Sievert were patrolling the downtown area during a night of shootings, business burglaries, and property damage.

The three officers, who were in an unmarked Ford F150 vehicle, were looking for vehicles that may have been involved in earlier incidents at Walmart and Necker’s Jewelry.

Due to the events of the evening officers were using all available vehicles. The truck was not a squad car and was not equipped with cameras.

Lansing was driving, Behning was in the front passenger seat and Sievert was in the back seat.

Officers saw a suspect vehicle and individuals in the alley between 14th and 15th Streets east of Myrtle Street. The truck entered the alley west of Myrtle and was driving east down the alley.

As it neared Myrtle street, the truck was shot at from the driver’s side. The truck was struck several times, shattering windows, penetrating the doors, and striking Lansing in the leg.

Another bullet hit his firearm that was holstered to his left hip. Bullets also struck the headrest behind Lansing’s head.

There was no time to activate a body camera because the gunfire happened so fast and unexpectedly.

Behning returned fire from the passenger seat, shooting through the back window towards the gunshot flashes he saw to the left.

The truck began taking gunfire from additional sources from the front. Lansing was seriously injured and having difficulty driving. Despite the truck not accelerating properly, he was able to drive it far enough to reach safety.

The officers obtained aid and were brought to a local hospital.

Neither Lansing nor Sievert fired their weapons.

Other police vehicles came to the scene and saw several people drive off in a black Pontiac Grand Prix.

Officers tried to stop the car, but it kept driving at speeds of 80-90 mph within the city. During the chase, a handgun was thrown from the car.

It crashed in the 1900 block of Mound Street. One occupant, Lashawn Hensle,y ran from the car and was apprehended a short distance away.

The other occupants of the vehicle were identified as Don White Jr., Deaguise Hall, Raheem Houston, Devell Lewis, and Michael Cross. Various charges are pending against them.

Seven firearms, ammunition, and magazines were recovered from inside the Grand Prix.

Officers returned to the 1400 block of Myrtle Street to collect evidence once the chase was over.

While doing a walk-through in the area, officers found the body of Tousant in the driveway of 1103 W. 15th Street. A Taurus 9mm Luger semiautomatic pistol was located under his body.

Nine RP 9mm casings were recovered from the area where he was located.

The investigation was turned over to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.

The officers were interviewed and one of the men arrested that night agreed to give a statement about what happened. He said he was in the alley when he heard and saw shooting to the west.

The guns, shell casings, and recovered bullets were sent to the Iowa Department of Safety, Criminal Investigations Laboratory for analysis.

The pistols that were found in the black Grand Prix, thrown from the car, or found under Tousant’s body were analyzed. The report showed that four of the guns were fired during this incident, firing a total of thirty-two rounds.

The gun found underneath Tousant’s body was compared with the nine RP 9mm casings recovered nearby and bullet fragments recovered from the F150.

The analysis determined that a bullet fragment removed from Lansing’s holster, two bullet fragments removed from the driver’s side “B pillar” on the truck, a bullet fragment removed from the driver’s side door panel, and a bullet fragment removed from the driver’s side front wheel of the truck was fired from the Taurus Luger.

The bullet fragment recovered from Tousant’s body at autopsy possessed similar characteristics to bullets fired from Behning’s pistol and had similar class characteristics to the ammunition used by Behning. The bullets possessed insufficient individual characteristics for identification or elimination.

A reasonable conclusion from this firearm analysis combined with witness statements is the gunfire by Behning struck Tousant one time resulting in his death, Walton said in the release.

“The evidence is clear that Marquis Tousant opened fire on the Ford F150 occupied by the three officers,” Walton said. “His gunfire struck the truck several times, including penetrating the driver’s side door striking Sgt. Lansing in the leg and hitting his firearm holstered on his side. Once the shooting started, other individuals from outside the truck also shot at and into the truck.”

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