COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A man fatally shot by an officer during a standoff in Council Bluffs is suspected of killing two people earlier — one on Sunday and one shortly before he was killed.
Police also have charged a woman who they say had been with the man during the slayings and when their pickup truck crashed during a police chase.
Court records say April Montello-Roberts, 44, of Shenandoah, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder of a police officer and other crimes. The records don’t list an attorney who could comment for her.
The cases against Montello-Roberts and the man who was shot by police as he held a gun on her, Troy Petersen, 28, of Essex, were unraveled after Wednesday’s chase and shooting. She was driving the pickup when a sheriff’s deputy tried to pull it over for a traffic violation, according to authorities. The deputy reported being shot at before he lost sight of the truck.
Officials said she was armed as she and Petersen then went to a Council Bluffs home and attempted to break in so they could take a hostage they could use if found by police. A court document says Petersen shot his rifle through a window and struck Steven Carlson, 51, killing him.
The document says the two drove way and were soon spotted by Council Bluffs officers who gave chase. An officer’s SUV was struck twice by gunshots from the truck, but the officer wasn’t injured.
Officers surrounded the pickup when it crashed onto a side. They eventually persuaded Petersen to toss away one of his weapons, but he held another on Montello-Roberts, who was in the pickup cab with him.
That’s when an officer fired one shot through a window, killing Petersen.
Police said an investigation into Sunday’s slaying of 52-year-old Jerrot Clark led them to suspect Montello-Roberts. A court document said she told investigators after her arrest Wednesday that she and Petersen had discussed robbing and killing Clark. His body was found Sunday evening inside his home. A credit card bearing Clark’s name was found inside the wrecked pickup on Wednesday, the document said.
Police also said officers involved in the chase and standoff didn’t know that Montello-Roberts was suspected in Clark’s slaying or that Carlson had been killed. Carlson’s body was found after Montello-Roberts’ arrest.