DES MOINES, Iowa — More information was released Tuesday, along with officer bodycam video showing what happened during a fatal officer-involved shooting in Des Moines last summer.
Sgt. Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department detailed the events of July 5th, 2017 during a news conference. That’s the day 29-year-old Tiffany Potter died after being shot by a Des Moines police officer.
Three members of the Special Enforcement Team were patrolling in the 1600 block of East 14th Street just before 2:00 a.m. July 5th. Sgt. Parizek says the officers were in the area because dozens of suspicious activity, narcotics, and shots fired calls had been made in the neighborhood over the prior seven days.
Police noticed an SUV, driven by Potter, pass by and turned around to follow. No emergency lights were activated at the time, and officers observed the SUV rapidly increase speed and then pull into a driveway.
Potter exited the vehicle quickly and walked around the SUV, then ran into the backyard of the home. A friend remained inside the vehicle.
Sgt. Parizek says two of the officers, Brandon Holtan and Brady Pratt, followed Potter down the driveway while the third officer, Brian Buck, came around the side of the house.
Buck saw Potter stopped near a fence and ordered her to the ground. The officer thought she was crouching to get down but then heard Potter say “no” and she straightened up – then fired a gun.
Sgt. Parizek says officers had been hearing fireworks set off all night and hesitated just a split second to process whether a gun had been fired or the sound came from fireworks. During that time, Potter took a step forward and Officer Buck saw the gun in her hand. He yelled “gun” and Officer Holtan, who had seen the muzzle flash and heard the gunshot, fired 12 times at Potter — striking her 11 times. Police say all of the gunshot wounds were below Potter’s waist.
After Potter fell to the ground, officers immediately handcuffed her and began first aid until an EMS crew arrived. Potter was taken to Mercy Hospital but died from her injuries.
According to Sgt. Parizek, a .22 caliber revolver was recovered from the scene. Only one round had been inside the gun, the one round Potter fired. Police aren’t sure of the origin of the gun because the serial number had been destroyed.
Police say the friend who stayed behind in the SUV told officers Potter said she was going to run, and that she was “going to shoot them.” The friend also admitted she and Potter had been doing narcotics earlier and thought Potter may have been having suicidal thoughts.
A search of the SUV following the shooting turned up a substantial amount of narcotics including marijuana, Ecstasy, and nearly a pound of methamphetamine.
During the press conference, bodycam footage from the officers involved in the shooting was played, displaying the actions of Potter and the officers.
In October, a grand jury decided that officers Brian Buck, Brandon Holtan, and Brady Pratt were justified in shooting Tiffany Potter and charges would not be filed in the case.