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Federal lawsuit filed over deadly Humboldt County shooting

Humboldt man shot by Iowa DNR officer in November 2017.

Posted: Feb 18, 2019 1:56 PM

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The State of Iowa and an Iowa DNR officer are being sued over a fatal shooting in Humboldt County.

Shane Allen Jensen, 19 of Humboldt, was shot and killed on November 17, 2017, in Dakota City. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said Jensen fired a 9-milimeter handgun into the air and then pointed it at officers. According to the lawsuit, that’s when DNR officer William Spece fired a rifle at Jensen, hitting him in the chest and killing him.

Law enforcement had been looking for Jensen after he reportedly expressed thoughts of “suicide by cop” and stole a motor vehicle. They found him after responding to a call of someone hiding under a deck in Dakota City.

A federal lawsuit has now been filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa by Jensen’s mother, Krystal Wagner. It claims Jensen suffered from numerous mental health issues like Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and was well known to local law enforcement because officers had used Jensen to make controlled buys of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes for minors.

Wagner’s lawsuit states other law enforcement officers at the scene were familiar with Jensen’s mental condition and followed the proper steps to calm the situation while Spece used deadly force because he had not been correctly trained and informed on how to handle someone like Jensen. The lawsuit states that Jensen did not point his gun at anyone except himself and also claims Spece had a history of using excessive force before being hired by the Department of Natural Resources and the DNR did not check his background to find that out.

The lawsuit is accusing Spece and the State of Iowa of wrongful death, excessive use of force, violation of Jensen’s due process rights, and failure to train an officer in the use of deadly force.

Online court records do not list any criminal charges filed against Spece for the shooting.

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