Suspect arrested in ambush killings of
two Iowa policemen
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[November 03, 2016]
By Scott Morgan
DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - A man known to
police for several run-ins with the law, most recently for waving a
Confederate flag at a football game, was arrested as a suspect in the
ambush killings of two Iowa officers shot in their patrol cars early on
Wednesday, authorities said.
The suspect, Scott Michael Greene, 46, essentially turned himself in to
authorities hours after the killings.
Police said he flagged down a state Department of Natural Resources
employee on a rural roadway, presented his identification and asked the
employee to call emergency-911. Greene was taken into custody without
incident by sheriff's deputies and Iowa state troopers responding to the
Police offered no possible motive for what precipitated the attacks,
which unfolded shortly after 1 a.m. (0600 GMT) in Iowa's capital, Des
Moines, and its affluent Urbandale suburb.
The body of the first slain officer was found near a stadium where
Greene, who is white, was expelled by police last month after waving a
Confederate battle flag in front of black spectators while the national
anthem was being played at the start of a high school football game.
The two slain policemen were both white, each shot while sitting in his
cruiser. Urbandale officer Justin Martin, 24, was found dead first, and
the body of Sergeant Anthony Bemino, 38, of the Des Moines department,
was discovered 20 minutes later.
Three bullet holes were visible in Bemino's patrol car in Des Moines,
about 2 miles (3 km) from the Urbandale shooting scene.
"These officers were ambushed," Des Moines police spokesman Paul Parizek
told a news conference.
Urbandale Police Chief Ross McCarty said Greene, who has not been
formally charged in the crimes, was well known to local police from
previous encounters with law enforcement, including the flag-waving
In 2014, he pleaded guilty to interference with official acts in an
incident involving police. The same year, he also pleaded guilty to
harassment and was placed on probation for a year. Court records did not
specify the nature of those underlying offenses.
Greene was charged in 2001 with assault and criminal mischief for
allegedly hurling a soda can from the window of a vehicle, but those
charges were dismissed.
The Des Moines Register, citing neighbors and court records, reported
Green had been living with his mother, who moved out of the house after
a recent fight with her son that led to her being charged with
misdemeanor domestic abuse.
Wednesday's shootings marked the latest in a string of attacks on police
across the country during the past several months, at a time of intense
public debate over racial bias and the use of lethal force in the U.S.
criminal justice system.
Some 52 police officers have been fatally shot while on duty in the
United States so far this year, up 33 from the same point in 2015,
according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
SUSPECT HOSPITALIZED UNDER GUARD
Greene was being held under guard at a hospital where he was taken after
telling officers who arrested him that he was suffering from "some kind
of flare-up related to an existing medical condition," Parizek told
[to top of second column]
Scott Michael Greene, 46, being sought by Des Moines and Urbandale
Police Departments investigators for two Iowa police officers shot
dead in separate "ambush-style" killings as they sat in their patrol
cars, is seen in this photo released by Urbandale Police Departments
in Iowa, U.S., November 2, 2016. Courtesy Urbandale Police
Department/Handout via REUTERS
He did not elaborate on the nature of Greene's medical condition.
Parizek said charges against Greene could come after police
interview him and finish gathering evidence from the scenes. An
arraignment was possible as early as Thursday morning, he said.
Details of the flag-waving incident emerged from a 10-minute video
clip posted on YouTube last month by a user identifying himself as
Scott Greene appearing to document the episode.
In it, a voice, apparently Greene's, is heard complaining to police
that "African-American people" took the flag from him in the stands
and "assaulted" him," adding that he wanted to press charges.
"There were people in the crowd who felt that was offensive, and
that he should be removed from the stadium," McCarty said of the
Police officers shown in the video said he was removed from the
stadium because he caused a disturbance.
"You have to understand, in the current social climate that we're
in, when you fly the Confederate flag standing in front of several
African-American people, that's going to cause a disturbance, OK,
whether you intended to or not," a female officer is heard telling
the man in the video.
McCarty said high school officials banned Greene from the property
following that incident but had been trying to determine how to
enforce the ban given that Greene has a daughter attending the
"Most of the officers that have been in the city have some
understanding of Mr. Greene," McCarty said. "They've taken trips to
his house, or delivered service to him. Never to anything of this
In a 2007 bankruptcy filing, Greene said he was single with three
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Julia Harte in
Washington, Gina Cherelus, Dave Ingram and Michael Flaherty in New
York and Rory Carroll in San Francisco; Writing by Scott Malone and
Steve Gorman; Editing by Will Dunham and Lisa Shumaker)
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