The Davenport police officer who shot a man on the Centennial Bridge last week was "reasonable and justified" in his actions during a seconds-long life-or-death struggle, Scott County Attorney Mike Walton announced Thursday.
Steven Mallory, 39, was seriously injuring officer Clif Anderson and would have continued to do so if Anderson did not shoot him twice with his Glock .40-caliber handgun, Walton said.
The first shot to Mallory's chest hit his lungs and heart and is believed to be the shot that killed him, Walton said. The second entered his torso near his spleen and went through his body.
Mallory had bitten an eyebrow off Anderson, punched him, choked him and slammed his head against the pavement. The fight ended after Jim Weakley, an East Moline detective who happened to be passing by on the bridge, stopped and attempted to get Mallory off Anderson. Weakley couldn't, but Anderson then was able to remove his gun from his holster and shoot Mallory, officials said. Anderson will require plastic surgery.
"I'd go so far as to say it was heroic," Walton said, adding that Anderson saved injury and possibly the lives of others by stopping Mallory.
Mallory had a lengthy violent history and was a suspect in an unprovoked assault 15 minutes earlier. That assault knocked out Rylan Bebermeyer, a volunteer at the Café on Vine, a free meal site in Davenport that Mallory visited.
It was unfortunate that the incident resulted in death, Walton said, but there was no other reasonable course of action. The investigation into the incident is mostly complete, he said. Toxicology reports are not yet back on Mallory.
A written report is expected in several weeks, Walton said.
"I think it's fair to say officer Anderson thought he was going to die," during the assault, Walton said.
Walton released the full video of the incident, as well as photos of Anderson's injuries. The video, taken by Anderson's squad car camera, shows Anderson approaching Mallory, who was identified as the suspect in the Café on Vine assault by a witness who followed Mallory to the bridge. Anderson orders Mallory to his knees several times. When Mallory fails to comply, Anderson deploys his Taser.
The Taser did not work. Investigators believe it failed because only one of the weapon's two prongs hit Mallory. Mallory then charges at Anderson and takes him to the ground in a narrow space between Anderson's police cruiser and the railing dividing traffic from the bridge's sidewalk.
At that point, the struggle moves off screen, and Weakley arrives on the scene.
Anderson tells Mallory that if he does not get off, he is going to shoot. Shots are fired. Mallory comes back into view of the camera and collapses on the ground.
Anderson informs dispatchers of shots fired. He then kneels beside Mallory with Weakley standing nearby. Fellow officers, who were already en route to assist Anderson with the stop, arrive on the scene. They move Anderson away from Mallory.
When asked if he is OK, a bleeding Anderson replies, "I don't know."
Anderson remains on leave. He will be required to undergo treatment to make sure he is mentally and physically ready to return to work, officials said.
"He seems to be doing well in light of the circumstances," Davenport Police Chief Frank Donchez said. "He's looking forward to getting back to work."
An internal police department investigation will evaluate whether the department's policies and procedures were followed, Donchez said.