Law Enforcement Cleared in Fatal Appanoose County Shooting

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The Iowa Attorney General’s Office cleared the three law enforcement officers involved in a fatal shooting outside of Centerville and provided more details as to what happened the night of November 21st.

In a letter to the Appanoose County Attorney’s Office, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office says the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) examined the evidence in the case.

DCI says at 3:43 PM on November 21st, two officers from the Centerville Police Department–Jacob Downs and Graffe Holmes–responded to a domestic incident. The officers came into contact with Kristen Sheston who told authorities that her husband, Kevin Arbogast, had been drinking and physically assaulted her. Officers noted Sheston had red marks on her wrists.

Downs and Holmes returned to the police station and reached out to Arbogast via phone, who lived outside of Centerville, to get his side of the story. Arbogast, an ex-Marine, reportedly invited the officers to his home so they could talk to him. The officers contacted Deputy Gary Buckalew Jr. of the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office to meet them at Arbogast’s home.

While the two officers were traveling to Arbogast’s residence, DCI says Arbogast woke his 15-year-old son and instructed him to put on a bulletproof vest and help Arbogast put one on as well. The son was also told to load three guns.

According to the DCI, the events that unfolded were captured on the patrol car’s dash camera and body cameras that the officers were wearing.

When Downs and Holmes arrived at the Arbogast residence, the son came to the door wearing a bulletproof vest. When the officers asked him why he had a vest on, the son responded that his father told him to put it on because something was going to go down. The teenager also informed the officers that Arbogast was armed with an AR-15. The officers instructed the son to get out of the house.

Shortly after, Arbogast emerged from behind a shed wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with an AR-15. Downs and Holmes drew their firearms, took cover behind a tree in the front yard, and yelled at Arbogast to drop his gun.

Arbogast initially took cover behind this truck and then made his way to the officers’ patrol car. Once there, Arbogast used the butt of his gun to smash the drivers’ side window, pointed his firearm at the officers through the opening, and made a verbal threat to the officers.

Downs and Holmes continued to command Arbogast to drop his gun. Despite the officers’ commands and the pleas of his son, DCI says Arbogast did not drop his weapon. The officers then fired their weapons. Arbogast got down by the patrol car.

Deputy Buckalew Jr. arrived at the scene. After observing Arbogast pointing a gun at the officers, Buckalew drew his weapon and yelled for Arbogast to drop his rifle and get on the ground.

DCI says Arbogast swung his weapon around towards the deputy. Buckalew fired a round at Arbogast and the two officers fired their guns and Arbogast went down.

Medical attention was requested for Arbogast. Authorities discovered the AR-15 was loaded and Arbogast also had a loaded pistol on his person. An autopsy later determined that Arbogast died from gunshot wounds to the head and lower torso.

DCI says since Arbogast was armed, posed a deadly threat, and was given multiple opportunities to end the confrontation peacefully, law enforcement was legally justified in its actions.

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