Doctors have released the Marshalltown Police officer who suffered a gunshot wound to the leg during a police chase Friday morning.
Officer Vern Jefferson responded to a call that two men, Ben Crisantos, 22, and Abel Ramirez, 22, both of Marshalltown, were robbing Lennox Employees Credit Union, 1004 E. Main St., just after 9:30 a.m.
During a short foot chase, Crisantos allegedly turned and shot Jefferson in the leg with a handgun in the backyard of a home near Eighth Avenue and Woodbury Street. Jefferson returned fire, striking Crisantos, said Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper at a press conference Friday afternoon.
T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
An unidentified woman is shown in the Lennox Employees Credit Union Parking lot at 1004 E. Main St. Friday morning while an unmarked law enforcement vehicle with lights flashing is pictured blocking the institution’s south driveway. Another unmarked vehicle was seen blocking the west driveway. Area law enforcement personnel responded to a report of robbery at 9:30 a.m. by two men who attempted to escape on foot. The Marshalltown Police Department arrested two suspects shortly thereafter.
Both suspects live on Woodbury Street.
Paramedics transported both men involved in the shooting to Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center, where doctors treated them for non-life-threatening injuries.
Shortly after the shooting, officers located Ramirez near the scene and took him into custody without incident.
Neither gunman injured any credit union employees or customers during the robbery.
"I am extremely thankful no civilians were injured today," Tupper said. "The suspects were acting recklessly and violently by all initial accounts, Officer Jefferson performed admirably today. His quick thinking and courage under fire likely saved lives, and his performance was in keeping with the finest traditions in law enforcement."
Police charged Crisantos with attempted murder and Ramirez with first-degree robbery, both Class B felonies.
The hospital released Jefferson and Crisantos Friday. As per department protocol, Jefferson will remain on administrative leave.
Tupper said police recovered evidence from the men but would not comment as to whether that evidence was money taken from the credit union and if so the amount.
Police limited access to Marshalltown schools and businesses until about 11 a.m. The investigation will continue.
In 2010, Crisantos pleaded guilty to carrying weapons, interference with official acts with a dangerous weapon and aggravated theft, according to online court records. He was currently on probation for that arrest. He also pleaded guilty to third-degree theft in 2009.
Marshall and Grundy County Sheriff's Offices, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Iowa State Patrol, U.S. Marshals Service, Marshall County Attorney's Office, Iowa Department of Transportation's Commercial Motor Vehicle Unit and State Center Police Department assisted the MPD with the investigation.
Tupper thanks all the agencies involved for their bravery and dedication.
"I personally witnessed several officers today perform with honor and courage under very difficult circumstances," he said. "I am extremely proud of this police department."
A Class B felony is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.