Authorities say the "violent struggle" that ended with the death of a Des Moines man Tuesday night is not an uncommon situation for the fugitive task force involved in the incident. Fifty-year old Bradley Behmer was wanted on a parole violation. He faced 25 years in prison.
Officers with the Fifth Judicial District Violent Fugitive Task Force were attempting to arrest Behmer at a Des Moines apartment complex when they say he fought back. Officer Joe Emberlin ended up shooting and killing Behmer, who was not armed. Des Moines Police Sergeant Vince Valdez says the task force deals with violent fugitives on a daily basis.
"Whenever you’re dealing with fugitives, you never know…there’s a possibility that there could be violence. This team is experienced at handling these kinds of things. They’re going after violent fugitives and there will be many instances where situations will arise like this," Valdez said. Des Moines Police are handling the investigation. The case will likely end up before a grand jury.
Investigators are not commenting on exactly why Emberlin chose to fire his weapon, although Valdez said "Emberlin must have felt his life was in jeopardy." Fred Scaletta, a spokesperson for the Iowa Corrections Department, says while the shooting is a bit unusual for the task force, the violent aspect of the incident is all too common.
"This warrant team, in 2007, made approximately 1,400 arrests. It is a very normal part of their duties and responsibilities to arrest people who are primarily people under correctional supervision where there is a warrant. It’s very common for that to happen and in this particular case, that’s what was going on," Scaletta said. Emberlin has been placed on administrative leave, which is common procedure when a law enforcement officer is involved in a shooting.