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Shooting death of man involved in ambush of police during riots ruled justifiable
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Shooting death of man involved in ambush of police during riots ruled justifiable

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The shooting death of Marquis Tousant the morning of June 1 during the riots that began the night before has been ruled a justifiable shooting by police, Scott County Attorney Mike Walton said Thursday in a news release.

The investigation was conducted by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

The investigation concluded at the time he was shot, Tousant, 23, of Rock Island, was aiding in the ambush of an unmarked Davenport Police Ford F150 pickup that was patrolling the area of 1400 Myrtle Street. That shooting occurred at 2:55 a.m. on June 1.

Tousant died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen that injured his liver, pancreas and heart and caused massive bleeding, according to the autopsy. The evidence from the investigation indicated Tousant opened fire on pickup.

The truck was occupied by Lt. Greg Behning; Sgt. Scott Lansing, who was driving; and Detective Patrick Sievert. In addition to patrolling, they were looking for vehicles that had been involved in shootings at Walmart and Necker’s Jewelers.

The shooting at Walmart on West Kimberly Road was at 11:12 p.m. on May 31. In that shooting, Italia Marie Kelly was struck in the torso by a bullet and died.

Parker Marlin Belz, 21, of Davenport, is charged with first-degree murder and intimidation with a dangerous weapon in the death of Kelly. A hearing on that case is scheduled for Friday via video conferencing. Belz is being held in the Marshall County Jail. 

The shooting outside of Necker’s Jewelers, 4007 E. 53rd St., occurred at 12:13 a.m. on June 1. When they arrived at the store, police discovered numerous shell casings of various calibers. A review of the surveillance video showed a number of people approaching Necker’s Jewelers, one of them carrying a brick.

Some of those people were identified from the surveillance video. Several other cars drove into the parking lot and the people walked away from the store.

Gunfire was exchanged between these groups. Several people were identified firing shots in the parking lot. After the shots were fired, people ran to their vehicles and fled the scene. One of the people seen in the video at Necker’s was Tousant, according to the release sent by Walton, which covered the events of the riots that took place throughout the night of May 31 and the morning of June 1.

As Behning, Lansing and Sievert patrolled, they observed a vehicle in the alley between 14th and 15th streets east of Myrtle. Lansing drove eastbound into the alley. As the pickup approached Myrtle Street, gunfire from the north, or driver’s side, struck the truck. Lansing was hit in the left leg and forearm. Bullets shattered windows and pierced the doors. One of the bullets struck the headrest behind Lansing’s head.

Because the gunfire happened so fast, there was not time to activate body cameras, so there is no squad or body camera video of the incident.

Behning returned fire through the back window toward the gun flashes he saw to his left, as the pickup began taking other gunfire from the front.

Lansing was seriously injured and had difficulty driving. The truck was damaged by gunfire and not accelerating properly. However, Lansing was able to get the vehicle to safety.

Neither Lansing nor Sievert fired their weapons.

Other squads arrived on the scene to see a black Pontiac Grand Prix leave the area. Officers pursued the vehicle, which was driven at speeds of 80-90 mph. During the chase, one handgun was thrown from the vehicle. The vehicle crashed in the 1900 block of Mound Street.

Arrested from that vehicle were Deaguise Ramont Hall, 31, Rock Island; Lashawn D’James Hensley, 27, Rock Island; Michael Linn Cross, 27, Davenport; Raheem Jacques Houston, 27, Davenport; Devell Carl Lewis, 32, Rock Island; and Don Christopher White Jr., 34, Rock Island.

Only one of those men agreed to give a statement to police about what happened.

Seven firearms, plus ammunition and magazines were recovered from the Grand Prix.

When officers went back to the area of the shooting, they found Tousant’s body in the driveway of 1103 W. 15th St. Underneath his body was a Taurus 9mm Luger semi-automatic pistol. Around the area where his body was found police recovered nine RP 9mm shell casings.

After examining the weapons at the Department of Safety Criminal Investigations Crime Lab, it was determined that of the nine weapons recovered — seven from the Grand Prix, one that was thrown from the Grand Prix and the one under Tousant’s body — four were fired at the F150 in which Behning, Lansing and Sievert were riding. A total of 32 rounds were fired at the pickup.

It was determined that a bullet fragment that struck Lansing’s holster, as well as the bullet that struck him in the left leg came from Tousant’s gun. At least three other bullets fired from Tousant’s gun struck the truck. The bullet fragment from Tousant’s body possessed similar characteristics to the bullets fired from Behning’s gun.

Walton said in his news release that evidence indicated Tousant opened fire on the truck and Behning returned fire. It was not known that Tousant was hit until officers returned to the scene.

Given the evidence, the deadly force used by Behning was justified, Walton said.

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