A Polk County sheriff’s deputy will return to patrol duties Saturday, just over three months after shooting and killing a suicidal man. A grand jury on Thursday declined to indict deputy Dale Petersen, who fired the wrong type of ammunition in a standoff with an Urbandale man on June 8.
Petersen believed he was using a beanbag round which is designed to stun rather than kill. But, investigators say Petersen actually grabbed a lethal, hard plastic round of ammo designed to pierce barricades.
The standoff began after 21-year-old Justin Schleuning called 9-1-1 and was threatening to kill himself in a rural area south of Ankeny. After three hours in darkness and pouring rain, Schleuning agreed to exit his car. Petersen thought Schleuning might be holding a handgun and fired what he thought was beanbag rounds in an effort to subdue Schleuning.
Investigators have not said why Petersen had the hard plastic ammunition in his possession. The Polk County sheriff’s office does not stock or issue that style of ammo. Peterson had been on paid leave before returning to administrative work earlier this month.