Des Moines Police say a man who was shot by two officers during an apparent robbery attempt wanted people to believe he had a gun. The shooting happened just before 6 p.m. Sunday at a Dollar General store on the city’s northwest side.
Police spokesperson Lori Lavorato says the suspect, 30-year-old Daniel Carter, was holding a cashier hostage when officers arrived on the scene. Another store clerk called 9-1-1. “She told dispatch that Carter told them that he had a gun,” Lavorato said. “Although she didn’t see the gun, he had his hand in his coat pocket, simulating as if he had a gun.”
After Carter was shot, police learned he was not holding a weapon. Lavorato says Carter was becoming increasingly violent with the clerk and made several sexually suggestive comments. “He was becoming more forceful with her, poking her in the back with what (officers) believed was a gun inside the coat,” Lavorato said. “They felt her life was in danger and they stepped around…one officer fired one shot and the other officer fired another shot.”
Carter was hit in the face and stomach. He remains hospitalized with possible life-threatening injuries. The clerk was not physically injured. Lavorato says the officers, identified as Brian Carter and Hung Ung, took the appropriate action. “When someone acts like they’re holding a gun in their coat, they want you to think that, they want you to fear and everyone in that store feared that this man had a weapon,” Lavorato said. “(The officers) ordered him to show his hands multiple times and he did not comply with orders.”
The Iowa DCI is reviewing the case and has in-store video surveillance of the incident. Officers Carter and Ung have been placed on paid administrative leave.