Police: Cedar Falls officer shoots man after being attacked - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Police: Cedar Falls officer shoots man after being attacked

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Officer Bob Anderson, 2006. Photo courtesy The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Officer Bob Anderson, 2006. Photo courtesy The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

It was supposed to be a routine traffic stop in the early morning hours of Christmas Day.

"The engine was running, but the person in the vehicle appeared to be asleep," said Cedar Falls Police Chief Jeff Olson

Officer Bob Anderson approached the car. Inside, he says he saw a bag of marijuana on the passenger seat, next to the sleeping form of 27-year-old Zach Church.

Anderson killed the engine and woke Church. He asked him to come back to his squad car.

"He wasn't under arrest at that time and he was not handcuffed," Olson said. "He then started to assault the police officer. He started beating the officer on the head."

According to Olson, Church rained blows on the officer's head and pinned him to the ground. Olson also said Anderson thought he might pass out and felt a tug at his duty belt where his gun was holstered.

"[Anderson] was giving commands to stop," Olson said. "He even gave the command, 'Stop or I'm going to have to shoot you.' Eventually, the officer did shoot him."

Olson said Anderson shot Church once, and Church stepped back, but then resumed hitting him on the head. So Anderson shot him again. After that, he said Church went back to his car, but couldn't drive off, since Anderson had his keys.

Anderson was treated for injuries to his head and face at an area hospital and was later released.

Authorities said Church underwent surgery and is expected to survive.

Now, some are asking whether the officer's force was necessary, and whether a Tazer could have been used instead. Olson said he can't discuss that at this point.

Olson said Church will face charges for possession of drugs and Felony Assault on an Officer.

Church is a member of an area band, Illegal Smile. Fellow band members declined to talk with us on camera, but posted a statement on their Facebook page, asking for love and prayers for Church.

This isn't Church's first encounter with the law.  In recent years, he has faced several drug possession charges, and one charge for fifth degree theft.

The shooting is still under investigation. The Division of Criminal Investigations is assisting Cedar Falls Police.

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