Police respond to conflicting reports of homeless man's shooting - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Police respond to conflicting reports of homeless man's shooting

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Police have released the name of the man shot and killed by a Johnson County Sheriff's deputy. They say it was 26-year old John Bior Deng, identified as a transient.

Police say Deng stabbed 63-year old John Philip Bohnenkamp of Iowa City with a knife, as he was leaving the Hawkeye Hideaway bar around 7:15 Friday night. Deputy Terry Stotler intervened, and believed that Deng was going to try to stab Bohnenkamp again. That's when police say Stotler shot Deng, who did have a criminal history in Johnson County.

Conflicting reports of the event emerged shortly after, but police say the people giving those reports, hadn't come forward to speak on-record with investigators as of Monday.

Two men who saw what happened Friday night, have a different account of what police say really occurred. Michael Tibbetts and Brock Brones say Deng's shooting, was not justified.

"[Deng] got up, he stumbled about two steps to the right, and [Stotler] shot him dead," Tibbetts told us. 

"There was no knife," said Brones "[Deng] never lunged at [Stotler] with the knife, never lunged at anyone with a knife."

But Sergeant Troy Kelsay says neither Tibbetts nor Brones came to police to go on record.

"None of the witnesses that were identified on-scene or that came forward themselves, is providing a substantially different account," said Kelsay.

Tibbetts wonders why Stotler didn't use non-lethal force. "I think there probably could have been some other judgment or protocol made."

Sgt. Kelsay says Stotler works in the civil division, meaning he was armed only with a gun and a badge to identify himself with. "They don't wear the duty belt that has other options available to them like tasers or pepper spray," Kelsay said. "In that split second, he employed deadly force to counter what he perceived as the threat of deadly force."

Kelsay says until police have witness accounts significantly different from those already collected, theirs will be the official version of the story.

Sgt. Kelsay says police made contact with Tibbetts on Monday morning. He had agreed to speak with authorities, but Kelsay says he hadn't showed up as of Monday afternoon.

Police have been unable to find any family or friends of Deng, who they say was carrying a Texas ID. Anyone with information regarding Deng is asked to contact Iowa City Police.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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