WEBSTER CITY, Iowa — A man accused of killing an Iowa state patrol trooper last year had plenty of opportunity to surrender before the fatal shooting, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Douglas Hammerand made the remarks during opening statements in the first-degree murder trial of 42-year-old Michael Thomas Lang. His attorney, Aaron Hawbaker, told jurors that the trooper’s death was tragic but did not amount to murder, the Waterloo-Cedar Rapids Courier reported.
Lang is accused in the April 2021 killing of Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith, a 27-year patrol veteran who was shot as he led a team of officers into Lang’s home in Grundy Center.
Lang had barricaded himself inside the home after assaulting a Grundy Center officer following a traffic pursuit earlier that day, police said.
Hammerand said Lang refused to come to the door when officers arrived at his home, and the officers were able to enter a garage and clear part of the house. As they tried to enter the kitchen, Lang fired a pump shotgun, hitting Smith in the upper torso, Hammerand said. Lang then fired a second slug into the trooper when Smith was on the ground, Hammerand said.
The standoff continued for several more hours before a shootout ended with Lang being shot, investigators said.
Lang's defense team intends to argue that Lang shot Smith in self-defense. Lang is also charged with attempted murder and assaulting a police officer.