Scott County prosecutor: Bettendorf officer-involved shooting ‘justified and reasonable under the circumstances'

Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 11:21 AM CDT
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - A Bettendorf officer’s use of deadly force was reasonable when he shot and killed a man police say was holding a knife sheath to a 4-year-old girl’s neck and a machete against her torso at an in-home daycare last month, prosecutors said Friday.

“The evidence, in this case, shows the use of force, the use of deadly force, by Officer (Patrick) Mesick was justified and reasonable under the circumstances,” First Assistant Scott County Attorney Amy DeVine said during a short press conference.

“The actions of Timothy Clevenger put the lives and physical safety of the occupants of that residence in immediate danger. It was reasonable for Officer Mesick to fire his weapon to prevent injury or death of that little girl or the occupants of the residence.”

According to DeVine:

Just before noon on Sept. 3, Bettendorf officers were dispatched to a home in the 1100 block of 16 1/1 Street after a 911 call had reported that man, later identified as Clevenger, was holding a knife to the throat of a 4-year-old child.

Multiple officers responded to the call, including Mesick. Officers went inside the opened garage to assess the situation and heard screaming coming from inside of the house.

Mesick attempted to open the unlocked door, and it was quickly slammed shut from the inside. At that time he heard a male voice yelling from the other side of the door.

Officers announced themselves and ordered the door to be opened, but had to use force to open it.

Once inside, Mesick could immediately see a man kneeling behind a young girl with a black-handled item being held to the girl’s neck and a black-handled machete was being held against her torso.

Mesick could also see a woman and a boy at the bottom of the basement steps. Officers ordered the man to show them his hands; he did not respond.

Mesick fired once with his rifle, striking the man. The girl was immediately taken out of the residence and officers discovered that four other children and three adults had been inside of the home in the basement. Clevenger had ordered them down to the basement.

Clevenger died as a result of the gunshot wound. The black handled item held to the girl’s neck turned out to be a knife sheath for a fillet knife that was found near Clevenger.

An investigation was conducted by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Witnesses inside the house reported to police that Clevenger had come to the home that morning and appeared to be “on a mission.”

He brandished s knife, grabbed the girl by the throat, and ordered everyone else at knifepoint to the basement.

Investigators obtained evidence that Clevenger had purchased the fillet knife and machete at a store that same day at 11:43 a.m. Investigators also discovered a video file on a thumb drive that had been recorded prior to the hostage incident by Clevenger.

The file name was “Tim’s final thoughts.” It was a 30-minute video in which Clevenger expressed frustration and anger with things going on his personal life.

At one point in the video, Mr. Clevenger said “Justice will be served and I will be the one to serve it” and later stated that “Innocent people may die,” according to DeVine.

Mesick, a seven-year veteran of the police department, was placed on paid administrative leave per department policy.

Watch the press conference here:

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