(Grundy Center) –– A 27-year veteran of the Iowa State Patrol was shot to death Friday night during an armed stand-off with a man who authorities say had assaulted a policeman earlier that evening. Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Jim Smith was part of a team that entered the Grundy Center home of Michael Lang at about 9 p.m. Friday. Mitch Mortvedt (MORT-vet), Assistant Director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, delivered a briefing on the case Saturday afternoon.
Just before midnight, authorities used an armored vehicle to batter into Lang’s house.
Mortvdt says Lang was taken to University of Iowa Hospitals, where he’s listed in critical condition after surgery for several gunshot wounds. Lang has been charged with one count of first degree murder and being held on a one MILLION dollar bond. The chain of events began shortly before 7:30 Friday night when a Grundy Center policeman attempted to make a traffic stop, but Mortvedt says Lang sped away, then stopped in an area southeast of Grundy Center and assaulted the officer.
Mortvedt says a Hardin County deputy who arrived at that scene tried to arrest Lang, but Lang got back in his vehicle and sped back into Grundy Center. The deputy found the vehicle parked outside Lang’s house, saw Lang walking inside and called for back-up. Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens (STEE-ven BAINS, rhymes with “rains”) says Smith’s death is a horrific loss to his family and his co-workers.
Smith had been stationed to the patrol’s district office in Oelwein since 1996 and was the leader of one of the patrol’s Tactical Teams. Smith is the second state trooper in the history of the State Patrol to be shot and killed in the line of duty. The first was Trooper Oran Pape, who was killed in 1936 as he pursued a suspect.
Gov. Reynolds releases statement following the death of Sgt. Jim Smith
DES MOINES – Gov. Reynolds released the following statement following the death of Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith who was killed in the line of duty in Grundy Center on the evening of Friday, April 9, 2021:
“It’s with deep sorrow that we recognize the loss of Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith, a courageous hero who died in the line of duty,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Sgt. Jim Smith was a loving husband, father of two, and a pillar of the community. I along with the entire state of Iowa grieve for his family and friends as they try to cope with this devastating loss. Today we are once again reminded of the selfless sacrifices the brave men and women in uniform make. Let us never forget their bravery and that of their loved ones.”
Gov. Reynolds will order all flags in Iowa be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on the day of interment in honor and remembrance of this fallen hero. Details will be forthcoming.