Logan Shoemaker teared up Thursday afternoon as Buffalo Police Chief TJ Behning directly addressed him from the witness stand in a Scott County courtroom.
Behning said the two men both knew the rules on Sept. 25, the day Shoemaker crashed a stolen garbage truck into his squad car during a high-speed chase that began in Davenport and ended in rural Scott County.
Behning, who was positioned behind the squad, suffered serious injuries that could have taken his life.
“I probably should be mad at you, (but) I’m not,” Behning said during an emotional 30-minute sentencing hearing in Scott County District Court. “I feel terrible for the whole situation. I didn't know there was a 100 people involved in this. But I feel terrible for everyone — my family, especially your family, and you."
He continued, “I guess I’d put it this way — back when you were a kid playing cops and robbers, there were no rules, I guess boundaries and s--- like that, who knows. But the game we were playing that day, you knew the rules. You know you broke them, you’re going to jail. You know the rules. I knew the rules … I love this, doing this job, and there’s a chance that I’m going to get hurt. I know those rules. So I feel sorry for everyone involved except for me and you, pretty much. We knew the rules and we both got hurt, and you’re the one suffering the most and I do feel sorry for you for that.
“So, I just want to let you know that I have no resentment, no anger toward you.”
Shoemaker, 21, of Davenport, was sentenced to up to 58 years in prison in connection with the injuries to Behning and the chain of events leading up to the incident.
“Your conduct, your just complete lack of concern for anybody other than yourself, shows a level of depravity that I have rarely seen on this in all these years of practice and as a judge,” District Court Judge Thomas Reidel said.
Shoemaker was convicted in late June of attempted murder, first-degree robbery, willful injury causing serious injury and eluding or attempting to elude while participating in a felony following a four-day trial.
Because the attempted murder charge involved a police officer, Shoemaker must serve the full 25-year sentence on that charge before he is eligible for parole.
Prosecutors argued at trial that Shoemaker was on a path of destruction in September 2017.
Shoemaker testified he stalked and harassed a Davenport woman, intentionally rammed other vehicles, and broke out windshields on Sept. 24. He kept returning to the woman's apartment and fled from police when they tried to stop him, Shoemaker said.
The following day, he fled again from police in a stolen red Dodge Ram pick-up truck at speeds in excess of 100 mph at one point and blew through several stop signs before making it onto a gravel road in rural Scott County.
Shoemaker rear-ended a garbage truck, which disabled the pick-up truck he was driving. He told jurors that he ran over to the garbage truck, threatened to shoot the driver and then stole the truck to continue the high-speed chase until the collision with Behning's squad car at the intersection of Y40 and Iowa 22.
Behning was positioned at the back of the squad car to deploy stop sticks when the car was struck. He was airlifted to University Hospitals, Iowa City, after the crash and stayed there for five or six weeks and underwent multiple surgeries.
Shoemaker told jurors he was addicted to methamphetamine at the time and was not ready to quit his addiction when he fled from police.
Prior to trial, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree theft, three counts of second-degree criminal mischief, stalking with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon and fourth-degree criminal mischief in connection with the Sept. 24 incidents.
Assistant Scott County Attorney Kimberly Shepherd on Thursday recommended a total sentence of up to 30 years in prison and said that Shoemaker committed “a series of intentional and criminal acts that affected, by my count, over 100 people.”
“His crime spree lasted several days and it ended in the near death of Chief Behning, and his actions were not limited to September of last year,” she said. “They have had a ripple effect; they have had a lasting effect on the people that he targeted.”
His attorney, Derek Jones, argued for a 25-year sentence and said “substance usage” was at the heart of the case.
“Mr. Shoemaker was reckless that day,” Jones said. “He used substances that impaired his judgement and led him to choices that hurt people, and that’s why he’s been convicted.”
Jones said he believed there is a difference between someone who is clear-headed “trying to kill somebody” versus someone making a decision while impaired.
Shoemaker’s mother, Andrea Yates, told the judge her son is not the monster she said he has been made out to be.
“It was the drugs and the addiction,” she said through tears. “Someone who has been up four or five days, you know is not psychologically capable of decisions.”
She said she prays for Behning, his family, and the fate of her son.
“I know you watched the tape when he was being arrested,” she said. “He was very … he was honestly freaked out by what he had done. He did not know that you were behind the car. I just want you to know that. He had no intention of hurting you.”
Shoemaker, dressed in red jail garb, said in a quiet voice that he knows he’s done wrong and he just wanted to get help with his addiction.
“I apologize to everyone I hurt,” he said.
Shoemaker will receive credit for time already served in the Scott County Jail and was ordered to pay restitution.
He has 30 days to file a notice of appeal.